A solo yachtsman on board a boat that had a damaged mast and was low on fuel was found by an Air Canada Boeing 777 on Wednesday.The Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) began searching for the yacht on Tuesday morning after an emergency beacon was activated.
An Air Canada Boeing 777 flying from Vancouver to Sydney was asked by AMSA to divert to the area where the emergency beacon was.
Captain Andrew Robertson said he called on the passengers to help look for the vessel.
“As we approached the area I made a PA announcement to the passengers, you know, please help us look for, if you see anything because it’s very difficult to find anything down, 5000 feet, about a mile above the water,” he said.
“Almost immediately, as we closed in on the area, the first officer said well, I see what I think is the boat, so we proceeded right over it, it was almost exactly where they told us it would be” added Captain Robertson.
The 44-year-old Queensland yachtsman was spotted alive when the plane made a second pass.
“We were happy when we found the boat the first time and we were really happy when we found that the guy was alive,” said Captain Robertson.
An Air New Zealand flight then flew over to confirm the location and nature of the distress.
An Australian Police vessel later picked up the yachtsman.
“He is in really good condition on board, he’s not ill, he’s not injured in any way that I believe. Last I spoke to him, or spoke to the crew, about lunchtime, he was having a sleep,” said Detective Sergeant Anthony Brazzill.
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