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#270025 - 05/18/14 08:33 PM Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
A 40 ft yacht returning to Britain from the West Indies with four on board went missing 1000 miles off Cape Cod Friday morning. Their last radio report was that they were taking on water, but were stable, and diverting to the Azores. Visibility was 1 mile or less, 30-50 knot winds, 13-15 ft seas. After 2 days of searching by 3 C-130s and 3 merchant vessels, the search was called off.

Two 406 MHz personal locator beacons were activated. US Coast Guard, US Air Force, and Canadian Air National Guard C-130s flew to the transmitted GPS coordinates, but no luck. Small pieces of debris was spotted, and and an inverted hull was spotted, but not investigated.

Since PLBs also transmit a 121.5 Mhz homing signal, and the USCG says they can also home on the 406 Mhz signal, it seems like the visual visibility would not have been the limiting factor. I wonder at what range the C-130 can detect those homing signals? I found a spec sheet for a PLB homing receiver for airborne SAR here, but detection range isn't evident to me.

USCG Bulletin announcing end of search
USCG audio interview on BBC
USCG Initial Report
BBC News report at search end
Daily Mail report at search end The Guardian report at search end


Edited by rafowell (05/18/14 11:48 PM)
Edit Reason: Added SAR receiver spec sheet
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A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#270032 - 05/19/14 05:24 AM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: rafowell]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2130
Loc: Great Plains
What does it mean that an inverted hull was "not investigated"? It seems that that was what they were looking for? I'll check all those links. Very say. Even a PLB is no guarantee of safety.
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#270041 - 05/19/14 05:42 PM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: Phaedrus]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
What does it mean that an inverted hull was "not investigated"? It seems that that was what they were looking for?


Yeah, that seems weird. Checking an inverted hull is what saved Tony Bullimore and Harrison Okene.

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#270047 - 05/20/14 01:34 AM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: rafowell]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1954
The USCG routinely gets over 100 miles homing on 406MHz DF from at higher altitudes.
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#270064 - 05/21/14 09:51 PM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: rafowell]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
As of the 21st May 2014 USCG have resumed the search. A British aircraft has also been sent to aid in the search.

It is considered improbable that the crew will be found alive. Even if they abandoned to the raft successfully it is unlikely, given the present sea state and weather conditions, that even sheltered in a raft they will have survived to the present time.

Unfortunately the resumed search is due to public pressure and is putting lives in unnecessary danger.
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#270065 - 05/21/14 11:02 PM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: rafowell]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2810
Loc: La-USA
Unfortunately the resumed search is due to public pressure and is putting lives in unnecessary danger.

Been there, done and ordered that at the request of CONgress person before.
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QMC, USCG (Ret)
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#270105 - 05/24/14 06:29 AM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: rafowell]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
I regret to have to inform you that they appear to have perished.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27553902


I rather fear that they were taken by a wave.
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I don't do dumb & helpless.

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#270108 - 05/24/14 06:10 PM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: Leigh_Ratcliffe]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#270122 - 05/26/14 03:56 PM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: Leigh_Ratcliffe]
Brangdon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: Leigh_Ratcliffe
Even if they abandoned to the raft successfully it is unlikely, given the present sea state and weather conditions, that even sheltered in a raft they will have survived to the present time.
Is that because of cold? I'm surprised that a modern life raft doesn't help more. Could you (or anyone) say a bit more about the challenges?


Edited by Brangdon (05/26/14 03:56 PM)
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#270130 - 05/27/14 06:57 PM Re: Search called off for 4 missing yachtsmen [Re: Brangdon]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
Originally Posted By: Brangdon
Originally Posted By: Leigh_Ratcliffe
Even if they abandoned to the raft successfully it is unlikely, given the present sea state and weather conditions, that even sheltered in a raft they will have survived to the present time.
Is that because of cold? I'm surprised that a modern life raft doesn't help more. Could you (or anyone) say a bit more about the challenges?


Yep. 50 F is 10 C.
In air that is survivable with reasonable clothing.
In water that is killing cold.
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