AMSA enlists international airlines to assist in search and rescue

Tuesday 16 October 2012
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) requested two international commercial aircraft to assist in a search and rescue operation today.
Media Release

AMSA detected an emergency beacon activation at 8:15am today. The beacon’s location was 270 nm east of Sydney.

Through Airservices in Brisbane, AMSA requested an Air Canada Boeing 777 en route to Sydney from Vancouver to divert to the area of the beacon to assess the situation. The plane’s captain reported a yacht was at this location.

AMSA’s Essendon-based Dornier was tasked to attend the scene, while an Air New Zealand A320 en route to Sydney from Auckland was also requested to divert to the area to provide confirmation of the yacht’s position and gain more information about the nature of distress.

The dedicated search and rescue aircraft, AMSA’s Dornier, arrived at 12pm and was able to establish communications with the person on board the yacht who reported to have been demasted and was running low on fuel.

It is believed the solo yachtsman left Pittwater, Sydney two weeks ago heading for Eden in New South Wales, but had been drifting away from land since last week.

Merchant vessel ANL Benalla will arrive alongside the yacht later this afternoon to provide shelter from strong winds until New South Wales water police vessel Nemesis from Sydney arrives to assist the yachtsman.

Nemesis is due on scene early this evening. AMSA thanks the captains and crews of the Air Canada and Air New Zealand aircraft for their assistance in the search and rescue operation, and their passengers for their patience.