Rescues - 2007

Two kayakers were rescued in the Bass Strait in December 2007, when they activated their McMurdo PLBs.

After setting out from Tasmania, Australia the pair were caught out in strong winds and adverse tides off Wilsons Promontory in Victoria. They found themselves in difficulty and became separated in the dark. Luckily both carried a McMurdo FastFind Personal Locator Beacon and they each activated them at separate times, alerting search and rescue authorities who tracked the signals quickly but could not pick them up at night. The police ground crew found both easily next day and they were picked up at first light.
Both Fastfinds were sold via Chemring Australia and their outlet EPIRB Hire.

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A McMurdo FastFind PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) was involved in the swift rescue of four fishermen whose boat was gutted by fire. The Gismonde, based in Co. Waterford, Ireland, caught fire on the morning of Friday 24th August when fishing in the Irish Sea

According to a report in the Irish Times the crew, under skipper Seán Stafford, sent out an EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) distress signal. A tragedy was swiftly averted by the quick thinking of an official from the Irish Marine Institute, who happened to be on board the vessel at the time. He activated his McMurdo FastFind PLB, a personalised handheld version of the EPIRB, and its distress signal alerted search and rescue services.

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The owner and three crew of a Swan 44 Kratos were rescued by an Italian coastguard vessel following the activation of a McMurdo FastFind PLB (personal locator beacon) which crew member Matt Sillars said he “always carries in his pocket”. The yacht caught fire following an electrical fault in an extraction system in the heads, and the crew were quickly driven out by the overpowering smoke and were forced to abandon ship into the liferaft.

Despite putting out a mayday call by VHF, the call for help was not correctly interpreted, and, following a faulty valve which caused the liferaft to start to sink, the crew began to fear the worst. Matt decided to activate his FastFind PLB, which by luck he only purchased one month ago. This enabled him to put out a speedy distress signal which went via Kinloss (the 406mhz listening station) and was then forwarded to the Falmouth Coastguard in the UK. Meanwhile Matt was able to reach the Falmouth Coastguard via the Solent Coastguard using his satellite phone. This call validated the signal that had already been received from the Fastfind PLB, enabling the rescue operation to be speeded up.

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