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The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and a good Samaritan on Monday rescued two boaters stranded nearly 2,000 miles from the nearest shores of Bermuda after a lightning strike blasted a hole in their vessel, officials said.

The Fifth Coast Guard District command center in Virginia received an emergency radio beacon from the 19-foot sailing vessel Lhor One around 6 p.m. Sunday and alerted mariners in the North Atlantic Ocean to be on the lookout for the stranded sailors, the USCG said.

The Coast Guard also deployed a HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina.

The distressed boaters were traveling from Guadeloupe to France when they got stuck about 1,726 miles east of Bermuda, a distance that officials said was comparable to traveling about halfway across the continental United States.

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“To put the distance from shore in perspective, the mariners were roughly the same as if you drove from Portsmouth, Virginia, to Odessa, Texas, near the Texas-New Mexico border,” Petty Officer 1st Class Starr Franklin said in a news release.

The plane crew reached the disabled vessel at 4:45 a.m. Monday and established communication with the 20-year-old and 24-year-old males on board.

Frio Ionian rescuing mariners

The mariners reported that their boat was taking on water after it was struck by lightning, which left a hole in the vessel.

The aircrew contacted a nearby good Samaritan vessel, the 505-foot motor vessel Frio Ionian, and directed the ship toward the stranded boat’s position.

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The Frio Ionian crew reached the location at 10 a.m. and safely brought both men over from the Lhor One with no reported injuries.

Officials thanked the good Samaritan vessel for helping make the rescue a success.

US Coast Guard crest

“This rescue was quite a distance from land and the successful rescue of two mariners was only possible because of the crew of the Frio Ionian’s participation in the AMVER program,” Franklin said.

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AMVER, which stands for Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue, is a Coast Guard program that allows vessels to voluntarily provide position updates for the response to search and rescues around the world.

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