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Search and rescue for solo yachtsman continues

Wednesday 17 October 2012
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) continues to coordinate the search and rescue for a solo yachtsman who activated an emergency beacon yesterday morning approximately 270 nautical miles east of Sydney.

New South Wales Water Police have recovered the yachtsman and are due to arrive in Sydney later today (Wednesday).

AMSA began a search and rescue operation for the yachtsman at 8.15 am on Tuesday, including enlisting the assistance of two international commercial aircraft to assist.

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 yesterday morning.

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 12 pm 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 arrived alongside the yacht late yesterday afternoon to provide shelter from strong winds until New South Wales water police vessel Nemesis from Sydney arrived to assist the yachtsman at midnight today.

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.

AMSA also thanks the captain and crew of ANL Banalla.

NB: A photo of the yacht is available from AMSA’s website www.amsa.gov.au.