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ROWER IN DISTRESS RESCUED 530 MILES OFF CAPE COD

Filed in NEWS HEADLINES, Police by on June 18, 2018 • views: 187

This past Friday, June 15th, the alarm for help was sounded by a man aboard an ocean rowboat 530 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. The rower in distress, Niall Macdonald, activated his emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) around 12:30 a.m., alerting Coast Guard radio watchstanders to the dire situation.

Macdonald reportedly faced 36 hours of rough seas which forced him to abandon his ocean rowboat Alba for a life raft when it took on too much water to handle. He connected to the United Kingdom Mission Control Center via satellite phone, who then coordinated with the First Coast Guard District in Boston to gather all necessary information on his predicament.

Fortunately Macdonald came prepared, reportedly having a personal locator beacon, VHF radio, navigation lights, flares, immersion suit, life jacket, and a transportable kit with various emergency items in addition to his EPIRB and satellite phone.

Watchstanders in Boston and the UK sent out an urgent marine bulletin to vessels around the flagged area, and Canadian respondents launched a C-130 aircraft from the Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax to aid in the mission to save Macdonald.

Although 80 miles from the target area, an Italian Naval warship was alerted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Rome to change course and assist in the rescue. The crew aboard the Dolfijnggracht wasted no time diverting their path in response to the urgent broadcast, and successfully located an exhausted but healthy Macdonald floating in the life raft around 5 a.m. Upon being found, the weather conditions were reportedly 10-foot seas and 26 knot winds.

Now safe from the unpredictability of the deep sea, Macdonald will travel with the Dolfijnggracht’s ship crew to their next port call in Canada. 

The idea of being “lost at sea” is terrifying, but may seem like a farfetched fear to people who do not indulge in activities across our oceans or only know what they have seen in Hollywood depictions. The United States Coast Guard statistics reveal that there are thousands of cases annually that involve search and rescue at sea. In 2015 alone, 3,536 lives were saved due to USCG efforts.

The U.S. Coast Guard is commending the rescue of Macdonald as an international effort, and is glad to see another life saved as a result.

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