In February of 1952 one of the worst winter storms to hit the Northeast also lead to one of the greatest Coast Guard rescues of all time.
With terrible weather pounding the coast and the high seas, two oil tankers, the Pendelton and Fort Mercer, both trying to ride out the horrible weather before heading into port, broke literally in half! Only one of the ships was able to get out an S.O.S. before it cracked in half, which was the Fort Mercer. The Fort Mercer knew things were bad and that they had sprung a leak in the middle of their ship, so they radioed the Coast Guard and ships were on their way to help them. However, the seas had 60 to 70 feet high waves, so any kind of rescue was going to be near impossible.
However, the Pendelton broke up in the night, and there wasn’t any warning so no S.O.S. was sent out. They were found purely by accident by a plane that was looking for parts of the Fort Mercer! This meant there were FOUR parts of ships that were floating in high seas and no one knew how long each section could stay afloat, especially in the horrible storm that was raging.
Into this nightmare, men were sent out to try to rescue them, knowing all the while, they might never return themselves.
The Finest Hours: The true story of a heroic sea rescue by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman is a fast paced, edge of your seat adventure story about the real dangers of the sea, and the real people who venture out to save people. An amazing story.
Recommended for students in 6th grade and up.