The Moon Dragon 60-foot catamaran yacht encountered rough seas about 140 miles southeast of Wilmington just after noon Saturday.
Both port and starboard side hatches on the 2021 vessel broke leading to “catastrophic flooding” which forced the crew to abandon ship, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Wind was at 35 mph and seas were 11 to 12 feet.
A Coast Guard plane was launched from Elizabeth City and located the partially sunken yacht. A Coast Guard helicopter was then sent to the scene and rescued four crew members from the catamaran.
The group was then taken back to Elizabeth City.
“We are all safe. And the Coast Guard and locals have been absolutely amazing,” Moon Dragon Capt. Jason Kindree told CBS 17.
The Moon Dragon is a charter catamaran and has six luxury cabins with room for 10 passengers, according to the website for the vessel. The lowest-priced weekly charter for just two guests is $58,000 with a $69,000 weekly rate for 10 guests, the Sailing Directions website reports.
Kindree now has a photo on his Facebook page of the rescued crew — all barefoot — with the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter Coast Guard crew after they landed in Elizabeth City on Saturday evening.
The crew is now in Raleigh while the Moon Dragon remains partially submerged and the Coast Guard has issued a hazard-to-navigation safety broadcast to notify mariners in the area.
“We are so happy for the overwhelming support the local community has offered,” Kendree said about their unexpected visit to Elizabeth City and Raleigh. “All I would say is that all of North Carolina that helped us is a fantastic community that’s here.”
The Moon Dragon earlier this month was at Yankee Point Marina in Lancaster, Virginia, where it underwent some cleaning and other work. The yacht then appeared at the Annapolis Boat Show which wrapped up Oct. 15.
Kendree said he would be flying his crew out of Raleigh on Monday.
The yacht offers charters between the Mid-Atlantic and the Virgin Islands.