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Rush to reach 3 sailors caught by Hurricane Julio

HONOLULU -- A rescue effort was launched Sunday to reach three people aboard a sailboat that got caught in Hurricane Julio about 400 miles northeast of Oahu.

The sailors aboard the 42-foot sailboat Walkabout sent a message around 7 a.m. requesting help after the boat became disabled and took on water in rough seas, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

One of the hatches blew away, and onboard pumps were unable to keep up with the flooding. The vessel's life raft was also blown overboard.

The sailors' message was sent to the International Emergency Response Coordination Center in Texas, which contacted the Coast Guard in Honolulu.

An aircraft sent to establish contact with the sailors detected Mayday calls from the boat.

Another aircraft that reached the sailboat dropped a life raft and pump into the water, but the sailors couldn't retrieve the equipment because of 30-foot swells and powerful winds, Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie said.

Another aircraft was sent to attempt another drop, she said. A 661-foot container ship diverted from its route to the location of the sailboat was still on its way late Sunday.

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