778/2022 Vessel Search - Les Casquets


The crew were alerted by Guernsey Coastguard at 0026hrs on Saturday 10 September, and requested to search for a 13m sailing boat, Tweebeen, north east of Les Casquets. The solo sailor had made a mayday call as his steering gear had been damaged, and he had suffered a broken shoulder. After receiving the initial mayday call, all radio contact was lost with the casualty. The casualty was unable to drop his anchor due to his injury.

The tide was running very fast south westerly, putting the casualty vessel on course for Les Casquets Reef.

Lions’ Pride departed from Guernsey airport at 0105hrs from runway 27 and was tasked to carry out a stepladder search of box 423 from the north east corner with east / west search legs running from north to south, checking Les Casquets en-route to the commence search position, as it was feared the vessel may have grounded.

The French Navy helicopter Cyclone 50, Gouray lifeboat Mona Rigolet, and the Alderney lifeboat Roy Barker had all been tasked.

Shortly after take off, the casualty vessel was located from a distance of over 5nm using the Wescam, at a position around 3nm south west of its last known position.

The co-ordinates were passed to Guernsey Coastguard and the French helicopter arrived shortly afterwards and winched a diver into the sea near the casualty vessel. The diver boarded the vessel and assessed the casualty.

Lions’ Pride was tasked to monitor the winching operations and provide top cover for the other assets.

Two crew members were transferred onto the casualty vessel from the Mona Rigolet, and the casualty was prepared to be transferred to the Mona Rigolet for winching into the helicopter.

The winching operation was completed at 0236hrs and at 0242hrs, Guernsey Coastguard stood Lions’ Pride and the Alderney lifeboat down.

Lions’ Pride returned to Guernsey, landing on runway 27 at 0300hrs having been airborne for almost two hours.

The casualty vessel was located within 14 minutes of leaving Guernsey, thanks to the state of the art camera equipment, and this quick location was key to preventing this incident from becoming a much wider search and rescue operation, given the strong tides in the area.

Visibility was very good below the clouds, and the sea state was moderate to rough.

Tags: Guernsey, Launch reports