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Two sailors were flown to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island after being rescued from the high seas off the northern B.C. coast.

Two sailors have been rescued in high winds and heavy seas off the northern B.C. coast in a dramatic operation that saw a rescuer swim to the disabled boat.

The joint rescue co-ordination centre says the two men sent a mayday call Monday night after they lost their rudder, engine and sails about 50 kilometres south of the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The rescue centre dispatched a plane and a helicopter to the sailboat, while a nearby cruise ship and Canadian Coast Guard vessels were also sent to help.

Capt. Jean Leroux says the situation was very dangerous for the sailors, who were fighting 80-kilometre winds and four-metre seas.

He says the vessel's torn sails and loose cables also made it difficult to lower a rescuer onto the deck, forcing a search-and-rescue technician to swim to the boat.

The two sailors were then hoisted from the rolling ship into a helicopter and flown to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.