Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pacific yachtsman thanks Boeing pilot, passengers for rescue

The 11-metre yacht "Streaker" which was de-masted in heavy weather, is seen from a police vessel after its captain, Glenn Ey, was rescued about 270 nautical miles east of Wollongong. Ey activated an emergency locator beacon (EPIRB) and was initially spotted by a passing Air Canada Boeing 777 enroute to Sydney from Vancouver, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

A rescued yachtsman thanked the pilots and passengers of a Sydney-bound commercial plane after they spotted his boat adrift on the Pacific Ocean.

Glenn Ey, 44, from Brisbane had been drifting for five days after his 11-metre yacht was hit by huge waves, snapping off the mast Friday.

Currents took him further out to sea and he was about 500 kilometres off Sydney when he ran out of fuel on Tuesday and set off his emergency beacon.

Search and rescue operators asked commercial airlines to keep a lookout for the yachtsman. An Air Canada flight from Vancouver diverted its approach to Sydney and reduced altitude to join the search.

The skipper of the Boeing 777, Captain Andrew Robertson, told reporters he dropped to 1,524 metres and reduced speed while crew and passengers scoured the waters below through binoculars. The plane’s first officer spotted the drifting boat and alerted rescue operators.

A Sydney police rescue boat reached the drifting yacht on Wednesday and brought Ey into Sydney early Thursday.

“A monstrous wave just came up and rolled the boat over. I went smashing into the roof,” Ey told Channel 7 News on his arrival in Sydney.

Ey thanked everyone on the passenger plane for diverting to spot him, enabling him to be rescued.

“I thought my number was up,” he said.

- Times Live

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