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Citizen Coastguards

When a solo sailor lost his mast in a knockdown 270 miles offshore while sailing between New Zealand and Australia, Aussie air traffic controllers called on two commercial flights to lend a hand.

When a solo sailor lost his mast in a knockdown 270 miles offshore while sailing between New Zealand and Australia, Aussie air traffic controllers called on two commercial flights to lend a hand. An Air Canada flight flying from Vancouver to Sydney dropped from 35,000 feet to 5,000 feet and Capt. Andrew Robertson called on the passengers to act as in-flight “coastguards” and help him search for the needle in a haystack.

Soon after, the first officer spotted sailor Glenn Ey waving from the coachroof of his dismasted boat and contacted the authorities with his location. Ey was rescued within hours. Back in Sydney, the flight’s passengers didn’t seem to mind the delay—they were all abuzz with post-rescue excitement.

Photo courtesy of ABC News

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