International Press Release – August 2008
Contact – Sean Griffin +612 9844 6666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A full scale international rescue effort in the South Pacific Ocean was the last thing the Robinsons a Queensland based Australian couple anticipated when they set sail in their 12 metre luxury yacht Illusion from Bundaberg bound for a leisurely cruise to Noumea in New Caledonia.
Unhappily disaster struck early on the morning of July 15 when the skipper severely injured his leg whilst deploying a sea anchor in rough weather. Fortunately his wife, a qualified nurse was able to free his leg from the anchor rope apply first aid and make him as comfortable as possible in the circumstances.
Drifting approximately 390 nautical miles east of the North Queensland coast, and being unable to sail Illusion single handed whilst tending her seriously injured partner, the decision was made to activate their GME Accusat™ 406MHz EPIRB.
Shortly after 0900 hours The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in Canberra detected Illusion’s distress signal. AMSA were quickly able to identify the location and identity of the vessel. A search and rescue Dornier aircraft based in Cairns was then immediately dispatched to the location.
The crew of the Dornier established communications with the couple on the yacht and maintained a watch whilst the AMSA rescue coordination centre diverted the bulk carrier Dayahai en route to the USA, to attend the yacht and assist with the rescue.
Dayahai arrived at the location during the night, but due to poor sea conditions and in the interests of safety, waited until first light before attempting to come alongside the drifting yacht.
The couple were transferred to Dayahai which diverted to Noumea where the Robinsons disembarked and received medical attention before returning to Australia.
AMSA’s on call media officer commented that it would have been a frightening ordeal for the couple, and it was fortunate they had the foresight to carry a GME MT400 406MHz beacon which provides a vessel identity and gives a 5km search area as opposed to 25km search area with the older anonymous analogue beacons.