‘Help me, Cassius, or I sink!’
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
Some 30 miles off Key West, Florida, the USS Sea Poacher (SS-406) tows disabled blimp XL-6 of Airship Development Squadron (ZX) 11 during a 22-hour rescue that started on 10 July 1952. The event began with a mock attack by the airship, piloted by Lieutenant Arthur E. Powell, on the submarine. Coming in too low, the blimp was rendered powerless when its propellers hit the ocean surface. The submarine surfaced and attached a cable to the XL-6’s mooring line and started towing it toward Boca Chica Naval Air Station. Heavy rain from a later storm weighed down the airship so much that the gondola became hip-deep in the ocean. Closer to shore, an air-sea rescue boat took over the tow, but the line broke as the blimp rose in reaction to the evaporating rainwater. The line was subsequently retrieved, and two crew members spent the night on board the airship. The next morning, sailors pulled XL-6 ashore to a mooring mast.