USA: An 80 year old man activated his McMurdo Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) after getting into difficulty during a solo voyage to Belize from Houston, Texas.
The incident gave yet another opportunity to the US Coast Guard to remind mariners to have a registered EPIRB or PLB on board their vessel and to file a float plan with family members and friends. In the case of the elderly owner of the 34ft yacht Enchantress correct registration of the Fast Find with search and rescue authorities and informing his family of his planned route meant the yachtsman could be located quickly.
The efficiency of the international search and rescue services in responding to an EPIRB distress signal was demonstrated when Falmouth Coastguard, UK, alerted the Colombian Coastguard within minutes of a McMurdo SMARTFIND EPIRB being activated. The signal was transmitted by a couple whose yacht was sinking on passage to Cartagena, Colombia.
Jeff Morris and his wife left the East Hollandes, San Blas Islands on passage to Cartagena, in late November last year in their 51ft sloop. Winds were light and conditions moderate. However, hours later, in strong winds and confused seas with waves of up to 12 ft, the Morrises realised that the yacht was taking in water from the bow. It was later revealed that a large tree trunk had split the hull port side forward.
A FAST FIND 211 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) was activated on 21st November when a bushwalker was injured in remote mountains west of Jervis Bay, NSW.
The bushwalker, who hasn’t been named, was amongst a party of three people. In this remote area, away from any mobile phone signal they were able to activate the FAST FIND, whose signal was transmitted via the international search and rescue satellite system to be relayed to the local Emergency Response Division of the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority). The rescue was undertaken by the Southcare Helicopter, a voluntary helicopter rescue service in the region.
McMurdo SMARTFIND PLUS EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon) was used by Sébastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon on board their yacht BT in the Transat Jacques Vabre race to alert rescue authorities when they suffered damage in atrocious conditions. The pair, whose yacht suffered damage to the coachroof and was taking in water, were later airlifted by helicopter to the Azores, 115 miles away.
Seb and Jean-François activated their McMurdo SMARTFIND on 13th November at 1020 GMT, after a long night of battling it out in fierce seas and winds reaching 60 knots at times. The sheer power of the waves caused significant damage to the coach roof and BT, an Open 60, was nearly two-thirds full of water by the time she was abandoned.
AUSTRALIA: Two Japanese walkers, lost in freezing conditions in the Kanangra National Park, a rugged and remote area of the Blue Mountains, were rescued after they activated their
Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The emergency beacon, manufactured by McMurdo, alerted search and rescue services to their plight. The Model 211 Fast Find is a potentially life saving hand held device whose distress signal is transmitted via satellite to emergency services.
NEW ZEALAND: A walker in the Ruahine mountain range in New Zealand was rescued on Sunday after he activated his Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to alert search and rescue services to his plight.
The Model 211 Fast Find is a potentially life saving hand held device, whose distress signal is transmitted via satellite to emergency services. In this case the 40 year old man was only into the first day of a planned 10 day trip when he fell into a hole filled with water and snow. He quickly became cold and disorientated and activated his Fast Find PLB.
Described as a “text book case”, an alert was received by the UK coastguard from a McMurdo Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon in Mongolia. The PLB’s owner was involved in the rescue of a road crash victim in the Mongol Rally. The car race is one of the most remote and challenging rallies on the planet. Andrew Walton of Newcastle upon Tyne came across another Mongol rally vehicle which had been in a head-on collision with a Jeep near Khovd. The passenger had a broken back and has since been airlifted home via Ullaan Battaar and Seoul hospitals in Korea and remains in hospital in the UK.
Two kayakers facing seven foot waves and 35 knot winds used their UK manufactured McMurdo Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to aid rescuers in locating them.
On 30th July the US Coast Guard coordinated the rescue of the two Israeli kayakers using the assistance of 58 foot fishing vessel Vigilant four miles southwest of Gore Point in Alaska after severe weather prohibited the men from paddling to shore.