Rescues - 2011

A McMurdo EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) has saved the lives of two Trans-Atlantic rowers, who were successfully rescued when they activated the beacon after their boat sank in the middle of the Atlantic.

The transatlantic rowers, Briton Tom Fancett and Dutchman Tom Sauer, were nine days into the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000 mile endurance rowing event from the Canary Islands to Barbados, when a freak wave struck their boat and caused it to capsize and sink.

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A New Zealand couple, while on holiday hiking in the French mountains came across a woman who had fallen over and broken her ankle. Luckliy they were carrying a Fast Find 211 PLB which they activated, as there was no mobile phone coverage. This quickly alerted the rescue authorities, who were able to pinpoint the casualty's location through the Fast Find's GPS.

A rescue helicopter arrived and took the casualty to a local hospital where her leg injuries were treated.

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Three crew members of the fishing vessel, Bear, were airlifted to safety by a US Coastguard helicopter after their boat ran aground in Aniakchak Bay, 196 miles southwest of Kodiak, Alaska. The crew were able to alert the emergency services to their situation by activating their E5 SMARTFIND Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), manufactured by McMurdo.

The US Coastguard received the EPIRB’s emergency signal via the COSPAS SARSAT international search and rescue system at 0323 on 30th August. This gave the first indication that the F/V Bear required assistance, and indicated the vessel’s location. The Coastguard were able to identify the vessel as the 52-foot Homer-registered vessel, via the EPIRB’s registration details.

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A group of seven 16-18 year old backpackers were rescued by State Troopers in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 24th July, after activating their 406MHz Personal Location Beacon (PLB) following a vicious attack by brown bears. The PLB, a Fast Find 210 from leading emergency distress beacon manufacturer McMurdo, alerted the emergency services who were able to find the group by following the beacon’s signal.

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On 4th April, a group of bushwalkers in Girraween National Park, New South Wales, Australia, was successfully rescued by helicopter just two hours after getting into distress and activating their McMurdo FastFind 211 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).

The party, comprising five students (16/17 years old) and one teacher from Hillbrook Anglican School, Everton Park, Queensland, had been bushwalking in the Bald Rock area, 12NM north of Tenterfield, which has limited vehicular access. The party took the decision to activate the PLB when the teacher fell and broke an ankle, and was unable to proceed any further.

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A Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) has saved the lives of four yachtsmen, who were successfully rescued when they activated the beacon following a problem onboard their sailing yacht in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The US Coast Guard received the 406MHz distress signal from the FastFind 210 PLB, which was registered to the French-flagged yacht, Recidive, en route from the Canary Islands to Martinique. The PLB’s distress alert also included exact GPS position data, enabling the Coast Guard to direct a Greek-flagged tanker, the Delta Kanaris, to the survivors’ precise location at 1,582 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Within 12 hours, all four crew members had been recovered by the crew of the merchant vessel, and were safely heading towards Philadelphia. A C-130 rescue crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., which had also been scrambled by the Coast Guard, was subsequently stood down.

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