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Four people rescued from sinking yacht off Evans Head

UPDATE: FOR more than two harrowing hours, the crew of the sinking yacht, Red Sky, were forced to endure 30-knot winds and three-metre seas while they waited to be rescued.

Just before 3am yesterday, the 50ft yacht hit a submerged object 14 nautical miles off Evans Head.

It immediately started taking on water, but the bilge pumps could not work fast enough to get rid of it.

The crew, including the 57-year-old skipper from Western Australia, issued a mayday call and activated a distress beacon.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinated the rescue operation.

The authority issued a broadcast to shipping and contacted the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and NSW Police Marine Area Command.

Two merchant ships, Silver Pegasus and British Loyalty, responded to the broadcast, while a crew from the rescue helicopter set out to start looking for the yacht.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked early this morning (aircraft was airborne at approx. 5am) by AusSAR to respond to a distress beacon that had been set off by a small boat SE of Evans Head. The boat called Red Sky' had 4 people on board and was taking on water. Photo: Contributed
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked early this morning (aircraft was airborne at approx. 5am) by AusSAR to respond to a distress beacon that had been set off by a small boat SE of Evans Head. The boat called Red Sky' had 4 people on board and was taking on water. Photo: Contributed contributed

Helicopter crew member Mark Sewell said they located the Red Sky about 5am.

"It was alongside a large merchant ship (oil tanker British Loyalty), which was protecting the yacht from heavy seas," he said.

"The crew were getting on board the tanker one by one.

"Instead of being winched, they elected to stay on board the ship, which is destined for Port Botany."

Crew members from the Red Sky were not injured during the incident, but are understood to be in shock.

They will dock at Botany Bay today and will be met by Water Police. The yacht has been abandoned at sea and is expected to sink near the location of the rescue.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the crew of the Red Sky had been well prepared, with a GPS-encoded beacon that had been registered with AMSA.

BRITISH LOYALTY

This UK oil tanker was built in Korea in 2004

It is 183m long by 32m wide, with a deadweight of 46803 tonnes

Home port is Douglas, Isle of Man

The tanker is operated by BP Shipping Limited

It usually has a crew of 25 officers and ratings

Currently heading for Sydney at an average speed of 8.5 knots, but has a top speed of 15 knots

 

YESTERDAY: FOUR people have been rescued from a yacht in rough conditions off Evans Head this morning, after the yacht hit a submerged object.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinated the rescue about 14 nautical miles east of Evans Head.

Those on board the yacht issued a mayday call and activated a distress beacon about 3am.

AMSA Search and Rescue officers issued a broadcast to shipping and tasked the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter to assist.

Two merchant ships, Silver Pegasus and British Loyalty responded to the broadcast.

The crew of British Loyalty rescued the four people from the yacht about 5.30am.

An AMSA spokesperson said the yacht had activated its distress beacon after hitting a submerged object and taking on water.

"Weather conditions in the area were rough, with 30 knot winds and two to three metre seas," AMSA said.

"Those on board the yacht were properly prepared, with a GPS encoded beacon, which was properly registered with AMSA."

Rescue helicopter crew member Mark Sewell said the bilge pumps on the 50ft yacht were not keeping up with the amount of water coming on board.

"We were sent to initially locate the yacht and possibly conduct a rescue," he said.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked early this morning (aircraft was airborne at approx. 5am) by AusSAR to respond to a distress beacon that had been set off by a small boat SE of Evans Head. The boat called Red Sky' had 4 people on board and was taking on water.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked early this morning (aircraft was airborne at approx. 5am) by AusSAR to respond to a distress beacon that had been set off by a small boat SE of Evans Head. The boat called Red Sky' had 4 people on board and was taking on water. contributed

"When we arrived just before 5am, a large merchant ship was alongside it, protecting it from the seas.

"The crew were getting on board the tanker one by one.

"They've elected to stay on board the ship which is destined for Port Botany."

The yacht's crew members were not injured during the incident but are understood to be suffering shock.

The yacht has been abandoned at sea.

Topics:  rescue, westpac, yacht




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