On Wednesday, December 29, a boat with two people on board sank 7 nautical miles from Saint-Martin. Fortunately, the SNSM of Saint-Martin was able to help the two survivors who took refuge on their life raft.
The alert was triggered at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29.
The CROSS-AG (Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue of the Antilles-Guyana) has just called on the Saint-Martin station to help a sinking boat with 2 people on board ...
A team of 6 volunteer team members is immediately mobilized and sets off at 04:15 am, with the “Rescue Star” semi-rigid, after having loaded all the usual rescue equipment as well as a motor pump.
There is little information: the sailors in distress were only able to make one MAYDAY call by VHF at 03:30 in which they indicated to the CROSS that they were 2 people in absolute emergency on their boat sinking some 7 miles away Nautical to the west of Saint-Martin. They do not have time to give more details because the communication is cut.
The CROSS tries to reconnect with them; without success…. He then launched a MAYDAY RELAY asking all ships in the area to keep a close eye. A cruise ship is not far away and immediately commits to active research.
The CROSS hires the Rescue Star of the SNSM station in Saint-Martin; then a yacht, on its way to Saint-Martin, joins the search.
The Rescue Star is in the area at 04:41 am, joined by several units which have turned away to participate in the search, following the call of the CROSS, which gives each ship a specific search area to crisscross to have a maximum chance of locating the sinking ship.
On port, starboard, forward and aft of the Rescue Star, the onboard crew members scan the waters with thermal binoculars and sweep the waves with searchlights.
A helicopter left San Juan (Puerto Rico) at 05:10 am to come as reinforcement.
The day is just beginning to rise when, at 06:20 am, the yacht locates a small liferaft and launches its tender with 2 crew members to approach it. They quickly confirm that there are indeed two people on board, that the mother ship has sunk completely and that there is no sign of it.
The Rescue Star then joined the yacht in its search area. The CROSS asks the yacht to take the two people on board, while the SNSM team members retrieve the liferaft from the Rescue Star.
The yacht is heading for Simpson Bay, followed by the Rescue Star. At anchor, the 2 survivors of the shipwreck are transferred aboard the Rescue Star and taken to the Marigot ferry terminal where the firefighters await them for treatment at 08:45 am and transfer to the hospital as a precaution.
The survivors were on their way from St. Thomas to Antigua when one of the portholes suddenly gave way and their boat quickly filled with water. They did not have vests but luckily they had a liferaft which they were able to deploy immediately after making their VHF MAYDAY call. This raft saved their lives!
After having entrusted the two survivors to the firefighters, the Rescue Star immediately leaves to refuel, offered by DELTA PETROLEUM, loyal sponsor of the SNSM, in order to be available again in the event of a new alert.
Back at the Fort-Louis Marina at 09:07 am, the volunteer team members put their equipment away and do a little debriefing of the operation before going to their respective professional activity.
The CROSS-AG and the SNSM station in Saint-Martin warmly thank all the vessels (which have requested to remain anonymous) for their participation in the search and their immediate assistance.
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