Captain and his cat saved by Coast Guard - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Coast Guard saves boat captain and cat

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Capt. Kevin Savage and Tommy Girl Capt. Kevin Savage and Tommy Girl

Capt. Kevin Savage's journey across the Atlantic started well. He was sailing on his boat, Maggie, with his favorite feline, Tommy Girl. But then he got caught in a storm. The high winds and heavy rains tore the main sail of his boat.

Savage was stuck at the steering station for two days, and noticed Maggie was taking on water. So he called the Coast Guard for help.

The crew with Air Station Savannah flew over Maggie and noticed the boat was leaning to one side. At first, Savage said he was determined to save his boat. But the vessel started to sink. That's when helicopter rescue swimmer Petty 1st Class Officer Scott Bitel jumped into action.

"He was kind of clinging to the vessel and climbing to the highest point as it was going down," Bitel explained. "I got in the water and swam over to him. His cat swam away. So I grabbed Capt. Savage and told him to relax. I started swimming to the cat, grabbed it, and threw it on the captain's chest. I told him to hold on to that cat."

"I was really happy when the Coast Guard showed up," said Savage. "I was even more happy they were able to save my cat because I thought she was gone."

Bitel said rescuing the cat was the hardest part.

"Dealing with a cat in the water, you can only imagine what we were going up against," he explained. "You don't expect to find a cat in a big ocean like that with 10 to 15 foot swells but we wanted to help the animal as much as we could."

Both Savage and Tommy Girl are expected to be okay. Unfortunately, Maggie sank to the bottom of the ocean. 

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