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VP-45 Pelicans Respond to Clyde Challenger Search and Rescue Efforts

February 13, 2017 at 1:51 PM UTC
Lt. Caroline Sabatt, VP-45

Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, Her Majesty’s Coast Guard received an emergency beacon from the Clyde Challenger, a 60 ft. sail boat transiting from the Azores back to the U.K.  The sail boat took on a rogue wave which snapped its mast, leaving it stranded in severe sea state and weather conditions.  A nearby ship, the CPO Ferdinand, a U.K. tanker, responded to the distress signal and shielded and monitored the vessel until further relief could arrive.

           

Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, Her Majesty’s Coast Guard received an emergency beacon from the Clyde Challenger, a 60 ft. sail boat transiting from the Azores back to the U.K.  The sail boat took on a rogue wave which snapped its mast, leaving it stranded in severe sea state and weather conditions.  A nearby ship, the CPO Ferdinand, a U.K. tanker, responded to the distress signal and shielded and monitored the vessel until further relief could arrive.

           

Sailors from Patrol Squadron 45 responded to the call and dispatched two crews and two P-8A Poseidon aircraft to provide aerial coverage while waiting for the Royal Navy ship HMS Dragon to arrive on station. 

 

“P-8 presence on station provided continuous rescue scene condition updates to Her Majesty’s Coast Guard and facilitated a communications relay between the Clyde Challenger crew and the HMS Dragon.” said Lt. Rodrigo Cunha, Patrol Squadron 45 P-8A tactical coordinator.

 

Lt. Lindianna Steffan, mission commander  and her P-8 crew arrived on station and established a thirty minute communications window with the Clyde Challenger, maintaining updates on the crew’s status and overall health of the vessel.

 

“It was a privilege to be the communications relay and provide the crew with any updates to the status of their rescue.  We were thrilled to be able to inform them when the HMS Dragon was inbound and provide their instructions for rescue.  You could hear the relief in their voices knowing that help was on the way and the rescue would commence soon.” said Lt. Caroline Sabatt, Patrol Squadron 45 P-8A tactical coordinator.

           

The HMS Dragon was conducting routine operations when they were diverted to assist in the rescue operations.  The second P-8A crew, led by Lt. Cmdr. Michael Winters remained on station and assisted vectoring the HMS Dragon to intercept the Clyde Challenger.  The crew was able to maintain eyes on the Clyde Challenger and witnessed four of the crew members’ safe transfer from the sail boat to the HMS Dragon.  All 14 personnel on the Clyde Challenger were safely rescued. 

 

"Supporting this mission highlights the P-8A's ability to respond quickly to a crisis situation, in this case 1,500 nautical miles from home base. While on scene, our crews were able to monitor and provide updates of the Clyde Challenger through the night, and help coordinate the arrival and rescue efforts of the HMS Dragon,” said Capt. Bill Ellis, Commander, Task Force 67. “For the crew of the Clyde Challenger and their worried family members at home, it's reassuring to know that someone is watching over them while help is on the way. I'm very proud of the VP-45 Pelicans for their rapid response and role in this rescue at sea."

 

Patrol Squadron 45 is in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operation in support of U.S National security interests in Europe and Africa.

 

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. As the Navy's replacement platform for the P-3C Orion, the P-8A is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations.

 

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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