Resume Rafiki Rescue
Monday 19 May 2014We are surprised that the search for the four crew of Cheeki Rafiki was called off so quickly by the US and Canadian coast guards. It is unlikely that they were able to do an effective search of the area given the poor visibility during the search phase. PLBs being activated by the crew over a period of time of time very strongly suggests that the crew are still alive and that they are likely to be in their 12 man liferaft.
As a commercial yachtmaster I am surprised that the search was called off so quickly. It seems strange that the search will only be resumed if evidence can be provided that the crew are still alive. I am a great fan of the work by the US search and rescue teams (if you have not read "That Others May Live" I would recommend it). I am also aware of the difficulties of a search that is a thousand miles offshore but would hope that another fixed wing search aircraft could be sent out in the improved visibility to search for the raft.
I have signed the change petition and would encourage others to do the same. There is still hope.
This incident also highlights the benefits of an EPIRB (improved signal strength, duration and GPS data) over smaller PLBs. Incidents like this would also make me consider keeping a charged satphone in the grab bag.