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Three people rescued off Tasmanian coast in rough seas overnight

Saturday 4 January 2014
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) coordinated the rescue of three people overnight in rough seas off the south west coast of Tasmania.
Media Release

At around 8.45pm AEDT last night, AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) detected an unregistered 406MHz distress beacon off the Tasmanian coast.

The beacon was traced to a vessel in distress about 1.5km west of South West Cape near Maatsuyker Island.

Tasmania Police contacted the lighthouse keeper on Maatsuyker Island who was able to make contact with the vessel and determine their location through the vessel’s on board navigational equipment. The vessel had broken down and was drifting in seas of more than eight metres and winds of more than 100km/h.

RCC Australia tasked AMSA’s Essendon based dedicated search and rescue aircraft, a Tasmania Police helicopter and the Tasmania Police vessel Van Diemen from Hobart to respond.

The Dornier aircraft arrived in the area around midnight AEDT and was able to locate the vessel and maintain radio contact with them.

The Dornier crew also relayed positional information back to RCC Australia.

Due to the adverse weather conditions, the police helicopter was forced to return to Hobart.

The Van Diemen came within sight of the vessel around 4.10am AEDT this morning within one kilometre of Maatsuyker Island and 500 metres of Walker Island. The vessel had drifted about 24km from when the distress beacon was first activated.

A Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) was deployed from the police vessel to rescue the people on board. The people were rescued onto the RHIB around 5am AEDT and were safely on board the Van Diemen about 5.30am AEDT this morning.

The police vessel is now en route to Hobart and will arrive later today.