Coast Guard officials are monitoring a drifting sailboat off the Eastern Shore and communicating with a man and woman on board after Wednesday's stormy weather impeded several attempts to rescue them.
About 5:30 p.m., officials at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a distress call from a 39-foot sailboat six nautical miles southeast of Ship Shoal Inlet on the Eastern Shore, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. jg. Jim Brendel.
The engine on the sailboat failed, and passengers on board were unable to raise the sails or drop the anchors on the boat, Brendel said. The vessel was also taking on water but not sinking.
Coast Guard officials dispatched a 45-foot response boat from Station Cape Charles and a helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City. However, because of weather conditions, the boat was sent back to base, and officials decided conditions were not ideal for a helicopter rescue either.
Officials also sent a C-130 airplane to monitor the situation, according to Brendel.