At 4:50pm (AEST) this afternoon (Friday) the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received an emergency beacon signal from a solo sailor on board a Queensland registered 6.5m sailing vessel in the Great Australian Bight.
The beacon's position was about 630km west of Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and 740km south east of Esperance, Western Australia.
AMSA has issued an emergency broadcast and diverted one merchant vessel, which is expected to reach the vessel's location in the morning.
AMSA has tasked our Perth-based Challenger rescue aircraft to the location which arrived on scene around 7:45pm and is now communicating with the sailor by VHF radio.
The aircraft is monitoring the sailing vessel’s situation with a merchant vessel making their way to the location.
Weather conditions in the area are severe with winds estimated at 100-110 km/h and seas reported to be 8-9m.
Update 9:30am, 8 July 2023
Both the Perth and Melbourne based AMSA Challenger rescue aircraft remained overhead during the night and communicated with the solo sailor via VHF radio.
A RAAF aircraft has now reached the vessel's location. AMSA issued an emergency broadcast and has diverted Bulk Carrier Theodore JR, which is expected to arrive to the area approximately 11:30am (AEST). Bulk Carrier HSL Mexico is also making its way to the location. The Ship's Masters will need to assess their ability to safely conduct a rescue in extremely rough weather conditions.
Weather conditions in the area are severe with winds estimated at 100-110 km/h and seas reported to be 6m.
Footage of the sailing vessel can be downloaded here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/Zj6zUXJuT6/files
Update 5pm, 8 July 2023
Approximately 4:30pm (AEST) today (8 July), the sailor was taken on board by diverted Bulk Carrier Theodore JR, which made several attempts to rescue him after responding to AMSA’s emergency broadcast.
AMSA is currently providing medical advice and will make plans to transfer the sailor ashore once their condition has been assessed.
Updated footage of the sailing vessel and Theodore JR can be downloaded here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/Zj6zUXJuT6/files
Update midday, 9 July 2023
AMSA has coordinated a medical evacuation of the sailor who was taken on board the diverted bulk carrier Theodore JR approximately 4:30pm (AEST) yesterday (8 July).
Theodore JR made several attempts to rescue them after responding to AMSA's emergency broadcast, which was issued when AMSA received the sailor's emergency beacon signal in the Great Australian Bight at 4:50pm (AEST) on Friday (7 July).
Approximately 11am (AEST) today (9 July), helicopter Rescue 52 winched the sailor from Theodore JR, approximately 70 kilometres southwest of Point Avoid, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, and is transferring them ashore for further medical assessment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
A RAAF aircraft assisted the search and rescue effort and merchant ships responded to AMSA's emergency broadcast. AMSA would like to thank all involved for their invaluable assistance.
This rescue highlights the importance of being fully prepared every time you take your boat out. Be aware of the weather and forecast, and sea-state, tides and local marine hazards. Also ensure you have appropriate safety equipment onboard, including a well-fitted and maintained lifejacket and EPIRB, and leave details about your intended trip with someone ashore or the local Volunteer Marine Rescue.
Updated images and footage, including the sailor being medically evacuated by helicopter, can be downloaded here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/Zj6zUXJuT6/files
Credit images and footage to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority
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