Our Westpac Rescue Helicopter team responded to a mayday call near Cape Palliser. Sailor Richard was in distress after a sudden, dramatic change in the weather. He could no longer control his yacht and feared it might capsize.
With safety gear on, and an emergency locator beacon in hand, he called for help. Thanks to the beacon, our team was able to quickly locate him.
The options were discussed and it was decided Richard should jump into the water to be rescued. The uncontrollable boat could change direction at any time. It was dangerous to get the chopper too close.
Richard was in the water by himself for just a few seconds before the paramedic was winched down to him. He was secured in the rescue strop and winched with the paramedic 35-40m into the helicopter.
“I was incredibly relieved to be winched into that chopper. I am so grateful to have been saved.”
It was a high winch because the helicopter needed to stay clear of the big, angry seas. With winds blowing at 80 km/hr and gusting up to 120 km/h and swells up to four metres, Crewman Mike said it was a challenging rescue, but “exactly the sort of stuff we train for.”
Thanks to support from our donors, our team is prepared to help in all sorts of scenarios, so people like Richard can make it home to their family.
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