Hopes for missing yachtie rest on satellite pics

The Irish coastguard is hoping satellite images may help pinpoint where a yacht with a Kiwi on board has disappeared to. Photo / Thinkstock
The Irish coastguard is hoping satellite images may help pinpoint where a yacht with a Kiwi on board has disappeared to. Photo / Thinkstock

The Irish Coastguard is pinning its hopes on satellite images in the search for a week-overdue yacht, as fears grow for the wellbeing of a New Zealander aboard.

The sloop Golden Eagle is more than a week overdue at port in Crookhaven, southwest Ireland, after leaving Bermuda a month ago during the Caribbean hurricane season.

A 60-year-old New Zealander, an experienced sailor, and a 69-year-old Norwegian man were on board.

Fears for their safety are growing, with the Irish Independent reporting the ship has just four days supplies left.

There has been no contact with the vessel since the day it left port and a huge search by several coastguards has so far failed to find any sign of it.

Irish Coastguard officer Pat Dunne today said they were hoping satellite imagery would help locate the boat.

"We're hoping to get satellite photographs tomorrow of the area, just to see if there's anything coming up on that as well. It will pick up everything, so we'll see if there's anything in the area," he told APNZ.

The Coastguard had had no contact with the ship despite searches, radio broadcasts, contact with vessels in the area, and an alert sent out to naval vessels in the area on routine patrols.

"There's been no contact with the craft since it left Bermuda on the 21st. I think the last contact, they sent a text message about 12 hours into the journey. That was the last contact and there's been nothing heard since."

The vessel had an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) but it had not been set off.

"We've had no broadcasts, we've had no sightings, their EPIRB hasn't gone off - you just couldn't speculate."

The sloop was believed to have been heading for the Azores en route to Ireland, but it could also have sailed directly to Ireland.

The Coastguard in the Azores said the vessel had not been seen in the area.

Mr Dunne said he could not speculate on what might have happened to the sloop, but it could have caught up in Hurricane Katia.

"It could have been blown of course, that could've happened. They could've been delayed, they could've lost the mast. There's a number of possibilities."

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 02 Aug 2014 19:28:48 Processing Time: 376ms