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Hams Aid Crew of Foundering Vessel:

07/26/2013

According to news reports, hams in Hawaii and California played a role July 23 in efforts to rescue the two-person crew of a sailboat stranded on a reef more than 3500 miles away in Micronesia. The US Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation. The vessel C’est la Vie, a 53-foot sailboat reported running aground on a reef in western Chuuk Lagoon. When the situation developed, Big Island Amateur Radio Club member Richard Darling, AH7G, was in contact with John Bush, KH6DLK/V63JB, and friends in the Federated States of Micronesia. Bush won the 2012 ARRL International Humanitarian Award for promoting the development and welfare of the population of the Island of Federai in the Ulithi Atoll, FSM, in part through establishing communication infrastructure and promoting ham radio. On July 23 he was in Northern California testing a new antenna to help him keep in better touch with his contacts within the FSM. During the contact, Darling and his wife Barbara, NH7FY, heard the distress call, in which the crew reported the vessel was taking on water. The Darlings were able to hear the signal well and pass along important information about the sailboat’s location and the severity of the crew’s situation, which the Darlings relayed to the Coast Guard. The crew had told the Coast Guard they thought they could walk ashore on the reef and had a life raft and safety gear. On July 24, the Coast Guard said the vessel’s radio had gone silent, and Bush and the Darlings “were mostly playing a waiting game,” the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported July 25. The paper ran an article about Bush’s ARRL award in May.



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