Sat, Feb 05, 2005
Rescue Plane Directs Merchant Ship To Shipwreck Survivors
For four survivors of the Emilien II, a 43-foot sailboat of
Canadian registry, the United States Coast Guard's distinctive
striped HC-130 was an extremely welcome sight. After a two-hour
search, centered on a debris field containing the vessel's
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), the crew
spotted the tiny raft bobbing in the vast ocean at about 1815 on
February 2 -- in other words, not long before nightfall would have
suspended rescue efforts.
The winds were howling at 40 knots, and the seas were running 18
feet high, complicating the task of spotting the raft.
Several Coast Guard stations worked together to help the
900-foot Liberian merchantman Yeoman Brook rescue the survivors.
The CG Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) in Portsmouth (VA)
initially received and localized the EPIRB signal at about 1000.
The distress signal originated about 60 NM southeast of Bermuda, so
Portsmouth handed off the lead to RCC Bermuda. Meanwhile, RCC
Portsmouth diverted a Coast Guard HC-130 out of Air Station
Clearwater (FL) from a routine mission to the rescue effort.
The HC-130 arrived over the EPIRB location at 1540 and found the
debris field that was seemingly all that remained of Emilien II.
The crew settled into a systematic sea search, and in the
meanwhile, RCC Bermuda asked the Liberian-flagged ship to assist.
After a couple of hours the aircrew spotted the lonely survivors,
and directed the ship to the location.
The names of the survivors and the reason for the sinking are
unknown at this time.
The US Coast Guard has 22 operational HC-130s which are used for
long range maritime surveillance, search and rescue, transport and
other missions. They are based in Alaska, Hawaii, and in
Clearwater, Sacramento, and Elizabeth City (NC) in the Continental
United States. Like almost all Coast Guard vessels and aircraft,
they are white with a distinctive wide red diagonal stripe.
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