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Lucky minefield incident for landing crew in Falklands

Tuesday, December 9th 2008 - 20:00 UTC
Full article
Dave Eynon shows the location of the minefield. Dave Eynon shows the location of the minefield.

A HORRIFIED Falklands vessel owner radioed for assistance for crewmembers of a Belgium flagged yacht who inadvertently wandered into a minefield on Saturday evening.

South Atlantic Marine Services Managing Director Dave Eynon told Mercopress: "I was sailing around Kidney Cove on East Falklands, an area I know well, with my crew and passengers, when I saw movement on the beach at Kidney Cove, a shape that wouldn't normally be there. As we got closer I observed people on the beach and a tender at the other end – the three people were in a known minefield." He said the individuals on the beach were clearly off the yacht Via, anchored nearby. Two other vessels, one owned by the Falkland Islands Government Chief Executive Tim Thorogood and the other by Dr Richard Davies, were also in the area. "Richard Davies was sailing up and down and appeared to be attempting to get their attention. He couldn't get close enough to the yacht though so I managed to move close enough to warn the one crew member on board the Via of the danger his colleagues were in. "I also radioed Cable and Wireless and told them of the situation." After much waving and hand signals to those on the beach they came off, "?rather nonchalantly," said the deeply concerned Katermaran owner. Diving and salvage expert Dave, said, "It was very lucky it was low water and they were only on the beach, they could have been in much more trouble if they had gone further inland and encountered the anti-personell mines there." A British Forces search and Rescue Helicopter from 78 Squadron at Mount Pleasant was scrambled to assist in removing the three crew members but by the time they were at the Via's location they were back onboard. In the Falklands it is an offence to enter a minefield and the incident is now in the hands of the Royal Falkland Islands Police. The thousands of mines in the Falkland Islands were laid by Argentine forces in 1982. The detection of landmines in the Falklands is extremely difficult because many were remotely delivered. About 80 percent of these landmines are hidden beneath sandy beaches and peat that can shift the mines position and make detection and removal more difficult. In all, 4,220 mines have been removed from the islands. More information about David Eynon activities: Falklands Underwater By Lisa Johnson – SeAled PR - Stanley

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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