Coast Guard video shows the stricken sailor with his pet cat tucked into his jumper leaping onto the deck of Shell Oil support vessel


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If ever a reminder were needed about how desperately dangerous it can be calling for help at sea, this video shows it most graphically.

This grainy video was shot from a US Coast Guard helicopter earlier this month after French solo sailor Manu Wattecamps-Etienne called for help.

Wattecamps-Etienne, 27, left Brittany earlier this year in his 10m aluminium yacht Le Chimere, heading for St-Pierre-Miquelon off Newfoundland’s south coast before continuing to Greenland and through the North West Passage.

He was off the coast of Alaska when he got into trouble in storm force winds and big seas and lost his steering.

The video shows Wattecamps-Etienne attempting, and finally succeeding, in leaping aboard Shell Oil support vessel the Tor Viking, which came to help. In the sailor’s jacket was his cat, Pipalup.

The danger of getting close to the ship in such big seas, and of not making it aboard, is obvious. It’s quite a chilling look at what rescue can entail.