Rescue operation for solo yachtsman near Tasmania into second day

Saturday 19 January 2013
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating a rescue operation for a solo yachtsman south west of Tasmania, now into its second day.
Media Release

The solo sailor’s yacht was de-masted and suffered some hull damage in rough weather conditions during his round the world journey.

On Friday night, AMSA’s Essendon-based Dornier confirmed the sailor had abandoned his yacht and was in a life raft. Throughout the night, a civilian aircraft remained on scene and received communications from the sailor.

They also sighted a light in the area and attempted to raise communications with nearby vessels. This morning the Dornier will return to the scene will attempt to gain communications with the sailor.

Throughout today, two more aircraft will be used in the operation to assist in communicating with the sailor and vessels in the area.

A cruise ship, Orion, has started making its way towards the yacht’s position and is due to arrive tomorrow (Sunday) evening. Aircraft will remain in the area until a vessel is able to assist.

The location is too distant for a helicopter to rescue the sailor. In yesterday’s task, the Dornier dropped a second life raft and communications equipment.

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 yacht 500 nautical miles south west of Hobart.

AMSA believes the sailor has been at sea for several months.

Further updates will be provided when more information is available.