[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:
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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