M/V ´BBC China´ – Rescue Operation

M/V ´BBC China´ – Rescue Operation

   Chandre Prince
Date:   18 Oct. 04
Reference:   M/V ‘BBC China’

This rescue was undertaken by the National Ports Authority Marine Pilot Helicopter Service.

Helicopter Type:   ‘Agusta A109K2’

Crew on board:

Commander:      Ryan Hogan
Captain:               Grant Morrison
Hoist Operator:  Leonard Shange

The call for assistance was received Saturday evening around 23:48 hrs from SASAR
Aircraft departed Durban  –  00:23 hrs Sunday
Aircraft landed back in Durban  –  07:16 hrs Sunday
Total flight time for rescue  =  05 hours 30 minutes.
Flight time to rescue crew off vessel  =  +- 40 minutes

Brief description

The helicopter departed Durban with full fuel load. The helicopter arrived overhead the vessel to find it broached in heavy weather. Wind was in excess of 40 Knots. Electricity on the vessel had failed. Waves and surf were breaking over the vessel. Weight limitations and turbulence around the vessel prohibited lifting more than two ships crew members at a time. As fuel load burnt down, so increased numbers of crew were lifted off on each trip. A total of 16 crew members were rescued and placed on the beach. Once all crew had been rescued off the vessel, they were airlifted from the beach to Margate Airport.

Thanks to Margate airport staff who came to work, manned their control tower providing flight watch communications and fuel all night for the duration of the rescue operation.