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U.S. Navy rescues Iranian sailors, military says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • US Navy ship heard mayday signal in Gulf
  • Away team found six Iranian sailors on damaged sailing ship
  • Americans gave Iranians medical aid, food, water, and repaired boat
  • Iran has not commented on incident

(CNN) -- A United States Navy ship rescued six stranded Iranian sailors last week, the Navy announced Tuesday.

The USS Mesa Verde picked up a faint mayday call in the Gulf in the early hours of May 14 and then spotted a signal fire on a dhow, or small sailing ship, the Navy said in a statement.

A Navy response team "discovered that the dhow's propulsion, electrical and steering systems had failed and that the crew had been adrift for four days at sea and dangerously low on food and water," the Navy said.

The U.S. military personnel replenished the ship's supplies, gave medical assistance to two Iranian crew members with burns, replaced the dhow's batteries and fixed its steering, the Americans said.

"It's well-trained boat crews and Mesa Verde's skilled engineers that made this difficult task look easy," Cmdr. Larry LeGree, the Mesa Verde's commanding officer, said in a statement. "While conducting maritime security operations, it was rewarding to be able to assist mariners in trouble."

Iran did not immediately confirm the incident.