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AMSA responds to emergency beacon activation

Sunday 30 March 2014
Earlier today the Rescue Coordination Centre detected a signal from an emergency distress beacon registered to a fishing vessel in the far southern Indian Ocean near Antarctica.

The RCC was unable to establish communications with the vessel and the nature of distress is unknown.

The beacon is located about 3,241 kilometres south west of Perth and 648 kilometres north of the Antarctic mainland.

A civil jet with an Aero Rescue search and rescue mission coordinator and State Emergency Service air observers has been tasked out of Melbourne to investigate the beacon. It will take five hours to transit the 3,889 kilometres to the location and will have two hours on scene before having to return.

The RCC has re-tasked a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion from the search for MH370 to fly to the area and render assistance if required. The P3 is capable of dropping survival equipment. It will take five hours to reach the location of the beacon.

A civil jet has been brought in to replace the P3 in today’s search for MH370.

A broadcast to shipping has been issued however due to the remoteness of the location it is unlikely that any other ships will be near the area.

The weather forecast for the area is extremely poor with low cloud, rain, snow and a water temperature of 2oC.

AMSA will provide more information when it becomes available.