Coastguard rescues sailor 700 miles off Irish coast in Atlantic Ocean - urges all seafarers to have an EPIRBs beacon

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HM Coastguard has coordinated the rescue of an experienced sailor 700 miles off the Irish coast after their mast snapped off in stormy conditions.

The Coastguard praised the experienced American sailor for having two properly registered emergency beacons, which had been his only method of communication.The Coastguard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) received two distress beacon alerts from the yacht 700-miles west of Ireland on Friday evening.The vessel had extensive damage and was drifting in very poor weather conditions.Thanks to the two beacons onboard however, the Coastguard was able to locate the yacht and begin the search and rescue mission.The Coastguard asked the RAF to deploy two aircraft which identified the stricken yacht using coordinates provided by the JRCC, at around 8.20am Saturday.The RAF aircraft provided communications with the vessel while the Coastguard asked all shipping vessels within 300-miles to help. Three vessels responded, altering their courses to intercept the yacht.After four unsuccessful overnight attempts by a merchant vessel overnight, the sailor was rescued just after 6.30am on Sunday 16 October by motor tanker Amax Anthem.The Coastguard said the survivor was an American national and an experienced sailor.Rob Priestley, JRCC Commander with HM Coastguard, said it was "a lengthy and complex search and rescue mission".

He added: "We’d like to pay tribute to the excellent seamanship and skill of the crew of the Amax Anthem and the Patricia V and to thank other vessels for responding – this was a challenging rescue in difficult conditions.“The involvement of the RAF aircraft was also a crucial element of this operation. Because the sailor was carrying two emergency position indicating beacons (EPIRBS) we were able to inform the RAF where the vessel would be."The signals from the EPIRBs were the only means we had of knowing where the sailor was and that he was in distress. All other communications methods had been destroyed during the event that led to his dismasting."

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“I’d really encourage anyone who sets to sea to carry an EPIRB and to register it with their national authority - in the UK that is HM Coastguard. An up to date registration means we have additional information to help with any rescue that’s required.”

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