Bundy Rescue is currently slowly making its was back to Burnett Heads after a Mayday call was received just before 8am.
Bundy Rescue is currently slowly making its was back to Burnett Heads after a Mayday call was received just before 8am.

MAYDAY CALL: How crews helped distressed skipper

UPDATE: Emergency services took to the ocean and sky after a mayday call came in this morning to help a boatie in distress. 

Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue were among the agencies who helped rescue the skipper and sole occupant of the trimaran. 

According to VMR Bundaberg's social media post, the initial call for help was "that the lone sailor was abandoning ship and taking to a tender" after Trimaran had been "demasted and was taking on water".

The Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew was called to the area, after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), was notified of a vessel in distress.

The rescue chopper flew to specific coordinates, approximately 50km off the coast, just after 8.30am.

The rescue chopper flew to specific coordinates, approximately 50km off the coast, just after 8.30am.
The rescue chopper flew to specific coordinates, approximately 50km off the coast, just after 8.30am. Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue


A LightFlight spokesperson said when the crew arrived, they could see the trimaran had been badly damaged.

"After speaking with the skipper and sole occupant, the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew determined he was uninjured and didn't require medical assistance," the spokesperson said. 

"The LifeFlight crew liaised with AMSA and it was decided the chopper would hover over the vessel, until the Bundaberg Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) boat arrived.

When the crew arrived, they could see the trimaran had been badly damaged.
When the crew arrived, they could see the trimaran had been badly damaged. Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue


"A dedicated AMSA surveillance aircraft flew to the scene to assist, as well."

The VMR crew made it to the area around 11:30am and towed the damaged vessel to shore.  

It's the second ocean rescue RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews have been involved in, in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday evening, the Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper assisted a man who was found standing on top of a navigation beacon, off the coast of Bribie Island, after his boat ran aground

UPDATE: Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg's Bundy Rescue is on a slow trip back to Burnett Heads after this morning's rescue mission.

Taking to social media, the local VMR wrote that a mayday call was received at the base just before 8am from a Trimaran that had been 'demasted and was taking on water'. 

"The initial call was that the lone sailor was abandoning ship and taking to a tender," the post read.

"Initial attempts [to] pin point the location of the vessel were hampered due to the aerial being now at water level and communication scratchy.

"Once the EPIRB had been activated a location was obtained and Police co-ordinated a rescue mission." 

The search involved Bundy Rescue steaming at best speed about 25nm from Burnett Heads.

"Seas of over 2m and squally winds reduced speed to under 10 knots at times with the rescue vessel taking waves over the bow," the post read.

"The Bundaberg based RACQ Lifeflight helicopter was also tasked and maintained station over the stricken vessel until the arrival of Bundy Rescue.

"The bulk carrier "Taihua Star" (which had just left Bundaberg Port) was tasked by AMSA to also attend the location and provide some relief from the seas and wind whilst the operation was underway.

"It will be a slow trip home for the crew of Bundy Rescue only able to travel at 6 knots due to conditions."

EARLIER: A recovery and retrieval mission is currently underway about 25nm northeast off the Bundaberg coast.

Acting Inspector Michael McGarry said there was one person on board the vessel which has had mechanical failure.

He said Volunteer Marine Rescue and a helicopter from Canberra were aiding in the rescue efforts.

"Our information is that the skipper of the vessel, who's the only occupant, is safe," he said.

He said sea conditions today were "very, very challenging" when the vessel became in distress in 2m swells.

While challenging conditions do pose a threat to rescue crews, Act Insp McGarry said those tasked to the job were very good at what they did.

"I'm sure they'll retrieve him safely," he said.

"We've got a cargo vessel out there at the moment as well which is assisting with the recovery of the vessel; we're hoping that the vessel will be towed back to shore."

Act Insp McGarry said conditions can change quickly out on the water and reminded boaties to ensure their safety equipment was up-to-date, on-board electronic systems were working and that someone knows where you are at all times.

"It can literally save your life," he said.



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