Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More on the off-shore search & rescue case

I wrote earlier this week about a great off-shore SAR case the Coast Guard ran. Here's the CG-speak:
LANT: 406MHz EPIRB FOR THE HALEY 770NM EAST OF VA BEACH 338401 (PM 19FEB07)
RCC Falmouth rcvd PLB 700NM NE of PR. LANT rcvd 406 EPIRB ivo Bermuda. Sent EGC and diverted AMVER vessel to the area. Launched C-130 from AS EC to position and readied another C-130 and 60 with extra 60 crew.

192017R: LANT - 406MHz EPIRB S/V Haley - 200NM E of Bermuda. Launched 1500 will be o/s soon. 1501 with extra 60 crew and 60 airborne with 3 hour ETA to Bermuda. 2 AMVER vessels ENR, 1 with 10 hour ETA and the other unsure if it can make it closer the 20NM to the position due to wx. Weather in the are reported as 45Kt winds and >25ft seas.

2207R: LANT rcvd a 406 EPIRB alert fm S/V HALEY, a 38-ft catamaran en route fm Sables D'olonne, France to Annapolis, MD with 3 POB. EPIRB position was approximately 200NM E of Bermuda. AIRSTA EC C-130 launched and arrived o/s, found vsl capsized with 2 people clinging to hull, no sight of third person. C-130 is dropping raft/survival kit, as well as SLDMB. Another C-130 and an HH-60 are en route to Bermuda, ETA 0030R. Both aircraft will refuel in Bermuda and then launch to the scene, ETA o/s is 0300R. Two AMVER vessels are en route. M/V SKS TORRENS is the closest vessel with an ETA of 3 hrs. HH-60 recovered 2 PIW and transported them to Bermuda. PIW confirmed that there was a 3rd PIW that was washed away by a wave. AMVER vessels and 1501 still o/s.

0536R: 2 POB from S/V HALEY safely hoisted by 6003 and transferred to EMS in Bermuda. Both suffering from hypothermia. Master of vessel still missing. Master was clinging to vessel with other survivors, but was pulled away by a wave sometime shortly after the C-130 arrived o/s. C-130 did not realize the third person was still clinging to the vessel, only learned it after talking to the survivors and reviewing video footage. Master was not wearing a PFD or survival suit when he was swept away. Survivors say he had been shivering, but stopped right before wave took him. Also said they were unable to determine if Captain had a pulse. Both C-130s had to RTB due to crew limits/fatigue. Two AMVER vessels on scene searching. Another C-130 will be o/s approximately 1030R. NOK notified. Case pends.

0830R: LANT PIW 200 NM NE Bermuda - 2 AMVER VSLS Continue to search for 1 PIW. M/V TORRENS located life rafts that C-130 dropped; no one in them. C-130 launched from A/S ECITY but had to RTB due to in-flight emergency. A/S ECITY trying to get another airframe up.

1742R: LANT- PIW 200 NM NE Bermuda from capsized S/V HALEY. A/S ECITY C-130 Conducted search with negative results. AMVER vessels completed searches. Re-located raft and vessel with negative results. NOK to be made by RCC FALMOUTH. ACTSUS granted by Arms with concurrence by Arm.
Got that?

Two merchant vessels, both participants of the AMVER program, participated in this case. Merchant vessels sign up to assist in maritime emergencies. Vessels which participate divert from their scheduled voyage to assist; they receive no remuneration. As a matter of fact, taking time out to assist in a SAR case usually costs them money in fuel and time. The Rescue Coordination Center controllers can query a database to locate the nearest vessels to the incident location. Then, through the magic of satellite communications, the controllers can provide direction to the vessel's master. A great, volunteer system that results in lives saved. Last year, AMVER vessels saved more than 300 mariners in distress.

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