Ports & Ships Headline News
Sep 25, 2005
Yacht spotted in search area, but search called off until Monday morning
Excitement mounted at the Moquini Search and Rescue headquarters at the Royal Natal Yacht Club at lunch time today (Sunday) when news was received from one of the search aircraft that a yacht had been spotted in the search box identified as an area in which the missing yacht might be found.
The Durban yacht with six people on board has been reported missing since Friday, 16 September while taking part in the annual Mauritius to Durban race.
One spotter on the aeroplane twice saw a yacht, although it was not possible to identify it immediately as the aircraft was low on fuel and had to return to base.
Fortunately a Grindrod sponsored King Air was refuelling in Maputo having searched an area off the Mozambican coast this morning, and was about to head home, when she was diverted to the position that the yacht was spotted.
The position of the spotted yacht is 280 nautical miles off Durban on a straight line course for the southern tip of Madagascar. This was an area identified by rescuers to be an area Moquini could be in assuming that she was badly damaged and limping home at a slow speed.
“We honestly don’t know whether the vessel which was spotted is Moquini, but a search this afternoon will hopefully reveal the identity of that vessel. However a strong gale force southwesterly wind which came through Durban at midday may well impair visibility and hamper the search” said Matthew Thomas of the race committee.
The search aircraft is not expected to land until after dark this evening (Sunday).
News received later from the pilot of the aeroplane searching for the missing yacht Moquini is that the visibility in the search following a possible sighting was very poor and that they could not locate the vessel.
The search will continue tomorrow (Monday 26 September).
Bulletin issued by Richard Crockett on behalf of the Mauritius to Durban Yacht Race organising committee
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