Stranded Sailors Use Iridium Satellite Phone to Mayday for Help

Source: CBC News

An Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone was used in the rescue of three sailors stranded in rough seas off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

The two men and one woman were caught in a nasty storm on the night of September 19, with high winds and severe swell, about 100 kilometres south of Sable Island, east of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A search and rescue team from Canadian Forces Base Greenwood was dispatched early the next morning after the sailors sent out a mayday. The rescue team managed to hoist the three sailors onto a Cormorant helicopter.

The sailors purchased an Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone from Nova Communications a few days before setting sail.

One of the sailors, Hanna Berke, said the wind and waves were so high that the 14.6 metre, two-masted ketch actually rolled over. Berke, a Dutch citizen, joined the vessel in Port Hawkesbury where her fellow sailors had been waiting out Hurricane Maria. The sailors left only two days earlier, with a plan to sail onto the Azores and then Belgium.

Berke said the rough weather began on their third night out. She steered, while Wilfrid Praet, the owner of the boat, scrambled to save the spare sails and other equipment on deck.

“It was like a hurricane, the seas came from everywhere, everywhere huge waves, so couldn’t steer really the boat at the end, so decided to go down, batten down and let it ride,” said Berke. She said that’s when the boat rolled.

“Huge waves and it turned over…it righted itself again, we found ourselves right next to each other, all tumbled down, so that’s why we have some bruises, but nothing broken. And then the mast snapped in three pieces,” said Berke.

It was a few hours later that a Hercules aircraft spotted them and the Cormorant dispatched. Captain Phil Lawson said the rescue was a challenge.

“It’s very dangerous for [search and rescue technicians] to go down in that kind of situation. There’s definitely a hazard there because of debris, the mast and other rigging, but we were fortunate we got in and out quickly and everyone was safe,” said Lawson.

After arriving back on land, the three sailors were cold and wet, but relieved to be alive. They were checked out by medical staff at Halifax Stanfield International Airport and were said to be doing well following their ordeal.

They’re calling their Canadian rescuers ‘heroes.’

About the Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone

The Iridium 9555 satellite phone is compact, light, and easy to use but with industrial-grade ruggedness—and it’s connected to the only truly global mobile communications network.

For more information about the Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone, including purchase, air time, and rental, please phone 1-877-721-7070 or download the brochure below.

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