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Three distress beacons in four hours, thirteen people rescued

Saturday 12 July 2014

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority responded to three separate emergency beacon activations yesterday, resulting in the rescue of 13 people.

Divers find their vessel semi submerged 41 km North East of Darwin

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority responded to three separate emergency beacon activations yesterday, resulting in the rescue of 13 people.

Just after 3 pm AEST, AMSA detected an emergency beacon registered to a five-metre fishing vessel approximately 41 kilometres north east of Darwin near the Vernon Islands.

AMSA tasked our Darwin based Dornier 328 search and rescue aircraft to the scene where they discovered the semi submerged hull of the vessel.

A short time later the two occupants were sighted on a navigational mark a short distance away. A nearby passenger ferry was tasked to the area and both people were recovered safely and returned to Darwin. 

The two reported that they had been diving and upon returning to the surface had discovered their vessel had sunk.

At about 6 pm AEST, AMSA detected another beacon about 2037 kilometres west of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

AMSA made contact with a nearby merchant ship who reported a Taiwanese fishing vessel on fire nearby. The merchant vessel was able to safely recover all ten crew who had abandoned ship onto a rubber mattress. The crew reported the ship had caught fire after an explosion in the engine room. The merchant vessel will continue to Durban in South Africa where the fisherman will depart.

Just before 7 pm AEST, AMSA detected a third beacon in South Australia about 85 kilometres south of Moomba. After making enquiries it was discovered an off-road motorcycle rider had crashed and dislocated his shoulder. A vehicle from the nearby Merty Merty station transported the injured rider back to the station where a ground ambulance then transferred him for medical treatment.

These three incidents show how valuable an emergency beacon is when you are going to remote areas.

A properly registered, GPS encoded, 406 MHZ distress beacon is your best chance of being rescued in an emergency.

For more information or to register your beacon, see the AMSA Beacons website.