inReach: 4 kite surfers rescued in Antigua
Jeff Brock and three friends set out to complete a 170 km endurance kite trip at 7am on Friday, December 12th. The journey began on the island of Antigua and finished on St. Maarten. Two members of the team kite surfed, while the other two followed in a support boat. An inReach SE was used to track the team’s progress and send updates to Facebook periodically.
The run went well without a hitch, setting a record in just over 6 hours concluding a successful mission. However, no one anticipated equipment failure during the return boat trip to Antigua. At 9 p.m. the four men deployed their life raft when the boat suddenly capsized after taking on water. Huddling in a raft the size of a kiddie pool, as Jeff described it, they pulled out their inReach and sent an SOS distress signal. Within two minutes, they received delivery confirmation and began interacting with GEOS search and rescue monitoring center.
Director Jonathan Cornelius, with Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) received notification from GEOS of the distressed boaters and dispatched a rescue team. While waiting for ABSAR to arrive, Jeff used his inReach to communicate details of the situation to the rescue team, and message his family. “It was incredible to do this [communicate via inReach]sitting at sea level basically under water in an uncovered raft full of water in the dark,” Jeff explained. “The device saved us, or at least got us rescued in record time. We were picked up in three hours and back on land in six hours.”
At 1 a.m., the ABSAR rescue team reached the men floating next to their capsized boat. After all four men were on board the rescue vessel they immediately sent a message from their own inReach device the team carries to notify their headquarters, “4 survivors rescued.”
“inReach tracking, messaging, SOS, and recovery… It has been the most handy device I have ever used.” – Jeff Brock
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