Thinking of Richard Woods and Jetti Mantzke
UK. Falmouth Coastguard co-ordinates international rescue mission off Mexico
Thursday, 19 January 2006
Two people aboard a 33 foot catamaran off the coast of Mexico requested urgent
assistance in extreme weather conditions of Force 10 - 11. They battened
themselves down in the boat whilst the waves washed over their boat. The
alarm was raised at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening by a transferred '999'
call from a friend who had been contacted by the crew of the British
registered catamaran 'Eclipse', informing Falmouth Coastguard that the vessel
was 90 miles from Haultuclo, in force 10. The vessel had no life raft other
than a hard dinghy, a handheld radio and flares and the EPIRB had been set
off. The two crew on board the vessel were a male from the UK and a female
from the USA. Falmouth Coastguard contacted its counterparts in America and
Mexico in order to pass co-ordination of search and rescue onto the Mexican
Coast Guard. The vessel by this time had issued a 'Mayday'.
Martin Bidmead, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager, says: "Rescue authorities
in Mexico were contacted through a link call with United States Coast Guard
NORFOLK and a Mexican interpreter. Mexican authorities assumed coordination.
We continued to get positional updates from the vessel. The Mexican Coast
Guard sent two 100 foot patrol boats and a helicopter to search for the
catamaran, but was unable to locate them. Fortunately an American war ship
was in the area and was able to launch a helicopter to continue the search.
The crew was told to be prepared to abandon their vessel and listen to
channel 16 and put the vessel lights on. Communications were made via
Falmouth Coastguard throughout the incident.
I am pleased to confirm that the two crew have now been air lifted by the
United States Navy and will be taken to the warship and will hopefully be
landed safely ashore in the next few days. This incident demonstrates the
international role played by Falmouth Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre,
working with foreign search and rescue authorities to bring about a
successful conclusion to a serious situation."