sail-world.com -- Dangerous rescue brings more awards for three

Dangerous rescue brings more awards for three    

Based on your current download speed Sail-World has delivered images reduced in size (300 pixels long side). 
If you would prefer to see medium sized images (500 pixel long side) click here , or to view large images (660 pixel long side) click here.
If text only (without pictures) is your preference, click here


'Lowe Corporation Rescue helicopter had just 20 minutes of fuel left when it landed after the rescue'    .

As cruising sailors it is all too easy to take for granted that the rescue authorities will be there when we need them but the harrowing stories of dangerous rescues are just what we need to be humbled by their contribution. A civilian medal has been awarded to three men at the core of a daring and dangerous rescue in New Zealand.

The three, senior winchman Geoff Taylor, St John Ambulance advanced paramedic Stephen Smith and pilot Dean Herrick, who were awarded the Royal Humane Society's Silver Medal, had already been presented with the New Zealand Search and Rescue Council's top honour for bravery - the Gold Award. Read their story:


Modest heroes: Senior winchman Geoff Taylor, St John Ambulance advanced paramedic Stephen Smith and pilot Dean Herrick -  .. .  
The call-out on October 11 was one Mr Smith said he would never forget, and the most challenging he had been involved in.

Wellington yachtie George Horgan, 63, called for help after the sails of his nine-metre yacht were blown out and the engine had failed - about 50 nautical miles out from the cape.

'The yacht was thrashing about in rough seas,' Mr Smith told local publication Hawke's Bay Today. He was winched down into 5m swells and 35-knot winds to rescue Mr Horgan, but the conditions and the sailor's reluctance to leave the yacht to get into a better position to be rescued, away from the swaying mast, made it treacherous.

The award citation stated:

Mr Smith had been lowered into the water and reached the boat, but getting the yachtsman into the desired position away from his boat proved to be extremely difficult. He was finally able to get the yachtsman into the harness.

Complications which followed resulted in the winch line with Mr Smith and the yachtsman attached to it becoming entangled with a rope linking a life raft to the boat. It took great skill on the part of all three crew members to free the winch line.

Mr Smith, in the water, was being repeatedly battered by the sea and against the yacht. Meanwhile, to compound their problems, the yachtsman endeavoured to climb back onto the boat, became entangled, and fell out of the harness into the water. He could not be seen. The crew believed he had been lost.

Physically spent and gasping for breath Mr Smith was winched back to the helicopter.

The yachtsman resurfaced some distance away and was seen by the pilot, Dean Herrick.

Despite his condition Mr Smith went back into the water again. After being frequently submerged he managed to reach the yachtsman and place him in the strop, bear-hugging him to prevent him slipping out again. They were then winched back to the helicopter. The man was unconscious, and a dead weight, requiring Mr Smith and Mr Taylor to use all their strength to get him on board.

Once inside, Stephen Smith was completely exhausted, he could barely speak and was vomiting sea water.

He required hospital treatment for secondary drowning. He had sustained a black eye and bruising to his neck, arms and shoulders.

By the time the helicopter had landed safely at the Hawke's Bay Hospital, with only approximately 20 minutes of reserve fuel remaining, the operation had taken approximately two hours, including the one-hour winch rescue on location.

All three involved took the same stance as winchman Mr Taylor, who recognised the situation they were placing themselves in. 'It's just part of the job,' he said.

Mr Smith said while he had not had contact with Mr Horgan he had met family members who had told him how 'deeply grateful' they were for what he, Mr Taylor and Mr Herrick had done.

My take on this account, apart from being impressed and grateful for the heroic actions of the three men, is that if you ever have to be winched to a helicopter, prepare yourself to jump away from the yacht so as not to further endanger yourself and your rescuers.



by Nancy Knudsen
- 9:36 AM Sun 23 Sep 2012 GMT





Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.
If you want to send this story to a friend, please use link below
http://www.sail-world.com/indexs.cfm?nid=102259

Based on your current download speed Sail-World has delivered large images (660 pixels long side.)  If you would like to see only small images (300 pixels long side) click here .  For medium sized images (500 pixels long side) click here .  If you would prefer to see text only (without pictures) click here

Click for further information on
EPIRB's and rescues

Related News Stories:
27 Jun 2011  Sailor on sole watch missing off Sydney's northern beaches

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL NEW AUS