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Rescue operation for solo yachtsman near Tasmania to continue through tonight

Saturday 19 January 2013
The rescue operation for a solo yachtsman who has abandoned his vessel and is in a life raft south west of Tasmania will continue throughout the night with aircraft remaining on scene to maintain communications with the sailor.
Media Release

Three commercial aircraft will be used in tonight’s operation. AMSA’s Dornier is currently on scene and is attempting to drop another life raft to the sailor.

The focus of tonight’s operation will be to communicate with the sailor. Tomorrow, up to four aircraft will attend the scene while the cruise ship PV Orion makes its way towards the life raft, expected to arrive later that afternoon.

Throughout today’s operation, three aircraft have attended the scene and have dropped communications equipment, food and water and a survival suit. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority believes the sailor has recovered most of the equipment.

The aircraft have been able to communicate with the sailor, who has not reported any injuries. A commercial aircraft currently on scene has a French interpreter on board who will attempt to gain specific information about the French native sailor’s condition.

AMSA has been attempting to make contact with vessels which have been identified within 100 nautical miles of the life raft, but has not been successful. The solo sailor’s yacht was de-masted and suffered hull damage in rough weather conditions during his round the world journey.

An associate of the sailor contacted AMSA early on Friday morning after the yacht had been de-masted. After making contact with the sailor, who did not declare he was in distress at the time, AMSA advised him to head towards Hobart.

At approximately 1:00pm AEDT that afternoon, AMSA detected an emergency beacon activation from the sailor 500 nautical miles south west of Hobart.

AMSA believes the experienced sailor has been at sea for several months. The next update will be provided at 6:00am, Sunday 20 January.