AMSA coordinates rescue of solo sailor overnight

Friday 5 September 2014
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre coordinated the rescue of a solo sailor in distress about 70 nautical miles north of Lord Howe Island overnight.
Media Release

AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) detected the man’s 406MHz distress beacon about 10.10am yesterday morning. The man also activated the distress function on his spot tracker.

The solo sailor was travelling between Queensland and New Zealand when his 10 metre yacht hit heavy seas and his yacht suffered rigging damage.

RCC Australia tasked AMSA’s Essendon based dedicated search and rescue Dornier aircraft, a Customs and Border Protection Dash 8 aircraft, a civil aircraft and a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules to assist. RCC Australia also issued a broadcast to shipping and tasked a Danish flagged container ship to respond.

The Customs and Border Protection aircraft arrived on scene at about 1pm AEST yesterday afternoon and sighted the solo sailor on his yacht.

The civil aircraft arrived in the area shortly after the Customs and Border Protection aircraft. Both aircraft stayed in the area for several hours.

The Dornier aircraft arrived in the area around 2.30pm AEST. The Dornier aircraft dropped water and communications equipment to the yachtsman.

The RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft arrived on scene about 4.15pm AEST and stayed on scene until the man was rescued.

The container ship arrived in the area about 4.30pm AEST.

The man was rescued about 8pm last night from the water through a joint effort between the captain and crew of the container ship and the RAAF C-130J Hercules.

The crew of the RAAF C-130J Hercules used night vision goggles to assist the container ship in locating and recovering the yachtsman in difficult conditions.

The yachtsman, who was wearing an immersion suit, was recovered from the water by the container ship. The yachtsman was uninjured. It is expected the man will be transferred ashore by a pilot vessel in coming days when the container ship transits the Great Barrier Reef area.

AMSA would like to thank the captain and crew of the container ship and the aircraft who assisted in rescuing the yachtsman.