BASRA Grand Bahama Search and Rescue Report (April 12th Case): Overdue 17ft Whaler
By Justin Snisky, BASRA
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:45:36 AM

Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association (BASRA) Grand Bahama received a call via cell phone from a concerned parent reporting that his son and friends went out conching on board a 17 foot Boston Whaler and had not returned as yet. The Vessel departed West End, Grand Bahama on Tuesday, April 12,  2011 at approx 0800 hours. They were due in around 1600 (4pm) and failed to show.

At 2030 (8:30pm) BASRA received a report of the overdue vessel and began a Communication Search. Notifications to Mariners were put out though out the night asking any Vessels in the area or passing the area to keep a sharp look out of any sightings of the Overdue Vessel. Information on the vessel was as follows: 17ft Boston Whaler with 3 people on board (25yr old, 23yr old and a 20 yr old), the boat is White and Black and has an 85 hp outboard Yamaha engine, no VHF, no life jackets.

Reports revealed they departed West End en route to Memory Rock to go conching. On Wednesday morning, with still no sign of the vessel BASRA attempted to launch an Air Search, but unfortunately at the time no planes were available for use, and the United States Coast Guard was notified to assist in an Air Search.

BASRA also notified all inbound and out bound Aircraft to be on the lookout and report all sightings. At 11:30am BASRA was successful in acquiring a Pilot and Plane to conduct an Air search for the Missing Personal and Dr. Horsfall along with spotter Tory Simmons were preparing to take off when reports of a Good Samaritan vessel (Blue Pearl- sailboat), while passing Mangrove Cay (18 miles from last known position) spotted the disabled vessel with the 3 Personal onboard. 

A vessel out of West End was notified and made way to the vessel to transport them back into West End around 1400 (2pm). Pilot, Dr. Horsfall was then stood down and returned to the Airport. BASRA closed its case and all personal were debriefed.

BASRA urges all personal to file a proper Float Plan prior to departing the dock, have your Engines properly checked, and make sure to carry Emergency Supplies especially VHF Radio, GPS, Life Jackets, Drinking Water, Anchor and rope, Flash light, and First Aid Kit. These are not all things you should have on board, but it is a good start.

BASRA Safety Tip: The speed and weight of your vessel will increase the amount of fuel you burn, larger sea conditions equal larger fuel bills.

You never know when a 4-hour trip can turn into a 3-day fight for your lifeā€¦

Justin Snisky

Chairman BASRA
Grand Bahama

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