Four Sailors Rescued 70 Miles Off Bermuda

February 9, 2013 | 14 Comments

[Updated with photo gallery & video] Following a search which involved three U.S. Coast Guard aircraft, four Irish sailors were rescued from their 48-ft sailboat 70 miles north of Bermuda this morning [Feb 9].The four people are now safely on board the “Tetian Trader” — a ship that had diverted to join the search and rescue effort.

At approximately 5pm yesterday the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre [BMOC] started receiving emergency signals indicating a distress 70 miles north of Bermuda. Following searches of local and international databases — including those of the Irish & U.S. Coast Guards — the BMOC could not identify the owner of the beacon.

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter presently waiting at LF Wade to return to the United States:

us coast guard chopper bermuda feb 9 2013

BMOC commenced Urgent Marine Information Broadcasts to vessels in the vicinity, while the U.S. Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 fixed wing aircraft from Elizabeth City to the distress position.

Vessels in the vicinity also diverted to try and assist including “Eurochampion 2004″ which was 90 miles northeast of the beacon’s position, and “Tetian Trader” which was 85 miles southwest of the distress position. Both vessels arrived on scene in 5-6 hours.

The U.S. Coastguard aircraft arrived on scene and located a radar target but were unable to communicate with the crew aboard the distressed sailboat. The U.S. Coast Guard prepared to dispatch a helicopter accompanied by a second aircraft.

Update Feb 10 – Photo slideshow of the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter departing Bermuda:

The Tetian Trader ship arrived in the search area early this morning and by 8am had located the yacht. Four Irish nationals [two in their 70s & two in their 50s] were transferred to the ship, which is presently en route to Turkey. The sailboat Wolfhound sank approximately 64 miles north of Bermuda.

The four sailors said the sailing vessel ‘Wolfhound’  – a 48ft Swan class sloop — departed Westbrook, Connecticut 10 days ago bound for Bermuda, then onward to Antigua.

The owner/skipper purchased the vessel in December 2012 and said he and his crew were experienced yachtsmen. Initial problems surfaced with a new inverter charger failed which resulted in loss of battery power approximately 400 miles off the Delaware coast.

The vessel also suffered engine failure a day after departure resulting in the crew having no power for communications or navigational systems for 8 days. In the last 24 hours the vessel suffered two knockdowns which resulted in the skipper activating the Emergency Beacon on board in an effort to alert authorities to their distress situation.

One Coast Guard aircraft returned to the U.S. while the helicopter and second aircraft landed in Bermuda today. The aircraft appears to have departed Bermuda, while the helicopter will return to the U.S. on Sunday.

Update Feb 10 – Video of the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter departing Bermuda:

The BMOC noted the international cooperation between Search and Rescue organizations in the USA, Ireland, and Bermuda who all worked to affect a successful outcome.

The BMOC said this case proves the effectiveness of carrying a 406MHz beacon for distress alerting, however it also highlights the need for the beacon to be correctly programmed and registered with authorities. The BMOC can be contacted on 297-1010 for advice on the correct procedure.

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  1. Storm-Battered Irish Yacht Spotted Adrift | Bernews.com | April 14, 2013
  1. concern says:

    Glad to hear everyone is safe and sound. However I will point out that this is yet another example of Bermuda needing to have its own Coast Guard. The Regiments Boat Troop should be full time and patrol our waters. We could have fixed up the old pilot boat St. David and used it for this purpose instead of shipping it away.

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    • I'm just sayin... says:

      The old pilot boat wasn't suitable for being a pilot boat and you want to use it for SAR? The only reason Boat Troop is being touted to patrol our waters is because they are CHEAPER than BPS. Don't get me wrong we need an effective SAR capability but we should't be doing it on the cheap.

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      • Xman says:

        I could agree to a certain point- but.....
        what will it cost us
        once we get out of this economic rot than we can begin to do stuff like - get out own Coast Guard.

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    • rubber bong says:

      With the strong winds we've been having, it probably would have been too rough for the pilot boat to go that far and it likely would have taken 8-10 hrs to get there.

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  2. 2013 says:

    I wondered why i heard a helicopter..glad all is safe

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  3. Lazy In Bermuda... says:

    Thank you USA!!

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  4. skinnydipper says:

    the real problem is what the hell they doing out there from the begining. Noreastern are common like every week this time of year. And they claim to be experienced. where do you think the migrating birds are this time of year, already south on the beach and in the sun and won't be moveing for aleast another month or more. They certainly are not north trying to go south. take it from a experience sailor

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    • Richie says:

      Gear failure is gear failure.

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      • swing voter says:

        c'mon man, gear failure is an excuse for poor planning and decisions. He bought the boat 6 weeks ago, and probably should have sat out the winter up north. He probably never got a chance to do more than a few hours of sea trials, so the boat was never truely tested in blue water, until now. I've never done a crossing but I know from living here what the north atlantic is like between nov and march....not meant to be crossed in a small boat

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  5. Watching On says:

    After reading the article, it seems to me they had problems from the moment they departed. Sounds like someone sold them a 'lemon'

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  6. John Doe says:

    I Know these guys, they are top sailors, they have medals from the Local
    dun laoghaire Royal Yatch club, coming third in our regatta for cleanest Galley so stop hasseling them. The captain didnt realize the bilge pump wasnt working until it was to late. his first mate was very sea sick and fell asleep in the crows nest, they were very close to the triangle and got scared, thus panicing and hiding away from the white squall. So dont judge them, unless you were there.
    in anyways they have a new ship, so they dont care about the wolfhound any more

    thanks
    captain Pugwash
    Seamen Stains

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    • Logic76 says:

      I didn't realize a 48ft sloop had a crow's nest. Last time I checked that is the last place to be if one is seasick, simple physics there.

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      • Peter says:

        Maybe Morgan (Crowe) was in his nest.
        Seriously, these guys are lucky whatever the reasons for their problems.
        One must ask why they didn't declare a Pan Pan or activate the EPIRB when they lost their engine while they were still relatively close to the US coast and knowing that they could be picked up by coastguard helicopter.
        Something else must have motivated them to continue for a further 500 miles. It seems that they made the wrong choice.
        Hopefully they will tell their story and we can learn from it.

        Peter C.

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