Red Cloud is rescued by Coast Guard

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 1            January 3, 2008

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The Red Cloud as it sets sail back home.

Paul Claus, Owner and Roast Master at Caye Coffee, proudly announced to the community that through their association with The El Lago Coffee Company, Caye Coffee was going international. The El Lago Coffee Company sought donations of school supplies of pencils and paper, spiral notebooks, computer equipment, new and used musical instruments or anything else that could help the school children of San Pedro and the generous people of Texas came through. Joe and Terry Butcher, owners of El Lago, brought the school supplies to San Pedro on the South sail and returned home with “Caye Coffee” on the North Sail, 10,000 pounds to be exact. “That works for everyone!” commented Claus in his December 18th press release.

    However, Red Cloud was not very fortunate on its way back as Joe, along with his wife, Terry, and brother, Doug, were returning to El Lago on their 42-foot sailboat, Red Cloud, with a load of 10,000 pounds of coffee when they were met by angry seas and fierce winds. Joe, 45, was in discussions with Coast Guard officials about getting his boat from 200 miles off shore.

    The Butchers and their Schiepperke dog, Skipper, were rescued on Tuesday, January 1st, by a Coast Guard helicopter when their boat started taking on water. The helicopter crew rushed 200 miles over the Gulf of Mexico to the vessel after receiving a report at about 11:45 a.m. that the Butcher’s sailboat was taking on water. Battling 25-foot seas and 30- to 35-knot winds, the Coast Guard hoisted the Butchers and Skipper aboard the helicopter.

    Terry Butcher, 50, suffered a minor leg injury. As the rescue helicopter made its nearly three-hour trip to the distressed sailboat, a Coast Guard Falcon jet crew traveled to the scene to monitor the vessel before the rescue. Because of the distance involved, the helicopter crew had to land on an oil rig to refuel during the return to shore. Heavy winds kept the group on the rig for nearly a half hour.

    The helicopter crew brought the Butchers and their dog to Ellington Field in Houston, where a family friend was waiting to bring them home.
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