Irish crew rescued off Bermuda before yacht sinks

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A group of Irish nationals were rescued from Bermuda’s waters this weekend after their yacht lost power.

The four crew members of the 48ft sloop Wolfhound were last night safely aboard the M/V Tetian Trader, but their yacht sunk minutes after being after being released.

A spokesman for the Bermuda Maritimes Operations Centre (BMOC) said that the yacht left Connecticut two weeks ago intending to stop in Bermuda before continuing to the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Antigua.

However the crew, consisting of two individuals in their 70s and two in their 50s, ran into numerous problems once at sea.

“Initial problems surfaced when a new inverter charger failed, which resulted in loss of battery power approximately 400 miles off the Delaware coast,” the spokesman said.

“The vessel also suffered engine failure a day after departure resulting in the crew having no power for communications or navigational systems for eight days.

“In the last 24 hours the vessel suffered two knock-downs which resulted in the skipper activating an emergency beacon on board in an effort to alert authorities ashore to their distress situation.”

BMOC received the distress beacon at around 5pm on Friday, at which point the yacht was around 70 miles north of Bermuda.

However they were unable to identify the vessel, and the US Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 aircraft from Elizabeth City to the area.

The Tetian Trader and the M/V Eurochamp were also diverted to the area to aid in the search.

The aircraft were able to locate Wolfhound and noticed lights on board the yacht, but were unable to communicate with the crew.

At around 8am yesterday, the Tetian Trader located the yacht, and was able to bring it alongside the ship. The crew were pulled from the yacht. While one of the sailors hurt his hand during the incident, the others were unharmed.

The yacht was later released from the ship around 64 miles north of Bermuda, and sunk shortly after.

The BMOC spokesman said that the incident highlighted the importance of international cooperation — and carrying an EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon) in case of emergencies.

“It also highlights the need for the beacon to be correctly programmed and registered with a country’s SAR authorities for effective tasking of SAR resources,” he said.

“In the case of Bermudian beacons this is with the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre who can be contacted on 297-1010 for information and advice on correct procedures.”

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Published Feb 11, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 11, 2013 at 8:44 am)

Irish crew rescued off Bermuda before yacht sinks

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