Late last week in the dark of night two Dutch sailors were rescued in rough conditions and at great risk to the rescuer when their yacht was damaged in gale force winds. They were approximately 75 miles west of the Isles of Scilly, off Land’s End, the south western tip of England, when the life threatening drama occurred.
The crew set of their EPIRB, and because of the correct registration of the EPIRB Falmouth Coastguard, who received the distress signal were able to establish that the yacht was registered to a Swedish 36ft yacht called Andriette. Falmouth Coastguard immediatly contacted merchant vessels in the area and a message was relayed from another yacht which had encountered the Andriette on July 6 and reported that she had suffered some damage but had continued on her passage from the Azores to Malmo in Sweden.
The Rescue Helicopter from Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS) Culdrose located the damaged yacht at 10:40 p.m. which was without steering, lying stern to the wind in heavy seas. With winching over the deck impossible in the conditions, the two men on board were instructed to abandon their yacht, get into their liferaft and move away from the yacht to give a clear passage for the winchman.
A spokesman for RNAS Culdrose said, “Sergeant Russell recovered the first yachtsman to the safety of the helicopter and returned to find and rescue the second man, who was now nowhere to be seen. After searching the area around the liferaft Sergeant Russell then dived under it to check if the second yachtsman was trapped there. He duly located him but then had to deal with the yachtsman desperately clinging to him while he released himself and his survivor from the various ropes and lines now tangled around them.”
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