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Missed Phone Call Leads to Emergency Rescue Effort

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A full scale emergency rescue was ordered over the weekend after a couple of sailors failed to notice frantic calls to their mobile phones after they were late in arriving in port from a sailing trip. OnĀ Saturday afternoon Shetland Coastguard in the very north of the UK were alerted by two yachtsmen who expressed concern for two colleagues who were on board the 31 foot Moen motor yacht 'Nina and who had not been heard of since Thursday evening after setting sail from the Faroe Islands to Foula in Shetland. They were by now some 16 hours overdue.

It was identified by the first informant that the 'Nina was carrying a VHF radio and that mobile phones were also on board.

The Coastguard immediately began ringing round various ports and harbours in the locality and beyond, to see whether the two people had been spotted coming into a port of refuge for some reason.

There was also no response from the yachts mobile phones or radio. The skippers wife had also not heard from her husband.

After no further response or success in spotting the vessel the Coastguard then began making pan pan broadcasts into the area in an effort to find another vessel that may have spotted the Nina. The Coastguard at Torshavn were also contacted in case the vessel had returned to the Faroe Islands, but this also drew a blank.

By 6.00 pm concern for the yacht and its occupants was such that a Nimrod from the air rescue co-ordination centre at Kinloss (ARCCK) was scrambled and once airborne began tracking the presumed path of the yacht from Foula to the Faroes. The Coastguard helicopter also went airborne and began undertaking a closer coastal search around the Scalloway area to Vementry, and checked Papa Stour and Papa Sound and the Skerries.

And at 6.30 p.m. Saturday evening alerts were raised to a full Mayday signal and with colleagues from Aberdeen Coastguard, oil and gas installations were contacted between the Faroe Islands and Shetland in case the vessel had been spotted or had been heard on any distress frequency.

With the search in full swing, at 8:40pm the Coastguard at Torshavn contacted Shetland Coastguard to report a mobile call had been received from the missing vessel which, at the time, was about an hours sailing time from Scalloway. All were well on board and heading into port.

Katrina Hampson, Watch Manager at Shetland Coastguard said: "We are delighted that the yacht was located with the two Faroese gentlemen safe and well on board, but frankly we are a little perplexed that such a major search seemed to pass them by. Urgency calls to their mobiles, radio and their next of kin produced no result. We are intending to go to Scalloway and meet them and to ensure they are aware of the need to keep an ear on the distress channel at all times."

RAF Nimrod aircraft

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Tags: emergency  UK  Faroe Islands