National Geographic : 1955 Dec
840 orth Atlantic Blizard Stufs li A North Atlantic Blizzard Stuffs Half Moon's Lifeboats with Ice The pilot sent out a general distress message, which was picked up by a passing freight plane. An eastbound airliner joined in the rescue operation. Together they shepherded the Queen to the Bibb and then circled while Captain Martin put his plane down on waves two stories high. Plane Alights Three Miles from Bibb Feeling his way down, waiting for the right moment to cut the flying boat's four engines, Captain Martin hit the sea three miles from the Bibb. Skillfully he worked his way through the rough waves toward the ship's side. Then the touchy job of getting off passengers and crew started (page 836). Almost eight hours after the plane put down. this progress report was sent out from the Bibb: "Darkness approaching. Plane leaking. Passengers mostly prostrated by sea sickness. Winds of gale force. Rough sea. Three persons removed unharmed with small life raft. Continuing operation with boat and rafts. Second successful boat and raft operation brings total saved thus far to five men, two women, two little boys, one baby. Baby appears to have stood the ordeal better than the rest." Again and again the Coast Guard men went out over 30- to 40-foot waves to the hulk, bringing back loads of as many as 16 passen gers at a time. Twenty-four hours after the Queen came down, every person had been transferred to the Bibb. It was one of the most celebrated rescues in recent years, and the importance of having rescue ships on the spot was apparent to all. Last year at a conference in Paris, the participating countries agreed to cut down the number of stations from ten to nine. But the more critical, and rugged, northern sta tions like Bravo will be continued. Rugged is the word for Bravo. Constant buffeting, sometimes for 10 days or two weeks straight, makes winter life aboard a 311-foot cutter a wearing adventure.