Early morning Thursday a helicopter from the Falkland Islands will be lifting ashore from the search and survey vessel Seabed Constructor, a Luxembourg national who suffered head injuries during the capsizing of the French flagged yacht Paradise in the South Atlantic.
In the Falklands, Ms Pascale Noel will be receiving further medical attention, while the remaining crew of the Paradise, five, (two went missing when the capsizing) are expected to call at Stanley port.
The following is a report from Mensun Bound, Director of Exploration, Ocean Infinity on board the Seabed Constructor.
At 14.44 hours (17.44 hrs GMT) on the 5 March, 2019, the deep-ocean search-and-survey vessel Seabed Constructor, operated by Ocean Infinity, received an emergency call from the Falkland Islands requesting assistance with a French yacht named Paradise that had capsized 480 nautical miles NE of the Falklands.
At that moment Seabed Constructor was 77 nautical miles from yacht. It diverted course immediately to give assistance. The position for the yacht was given as Latitude 47⁰ 58.9 S, Longitude 045⁰ 41.2 W.
The rescue that followed was coordinated from the Falklands Islands. An RAF aircraft from Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falklands was soon over the site, and was able to relay communications between the yacht and the Seabed Constructor.
It was learned that the yacht had been capsized by a large wave during severe weather conditions while on passage from South Georgia to Uruguay (having previously been in the Falklands). Of the 8 people on board, two had been swept overboard and were missing. The remaining six people were still on the boat which had righted itself following the capsize. One person with head injuries required evacuation to hospital.
By 20.10 hrs Seabed Constructor was 24 nautical miles from the yacht and making 14 knots. Sea conditions had moderated to a heavy swell with white caps. The wind was westerly 25-30 knots.
At approximately 20.45 hrs the RAF plane, which had been circling the yacht, had to return to Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falklands to refuel. By then it was dark. At 21.10 hrs, the mast-head light on the yacht was visible.
Seabed Constructor arrived on site at 10.00 hrs. A rescue boat was lowered and in challenging conditions, Pascale Noel, a 58-year-old woman from Luxembourg was transferred to the Seabed Constructor where her head injuries were attended by two people with medical training who received guidance by phone from doctors in Norway. The rescue was completed by 22.28.
It is expected that at approximately 07.00, tomorrow, 7th March, Pascale Noel will be helicoptered to Port Stanley for further medical attention.
Information from the injured person confirms that two people were lost over board, one of whom was the yacht’s French skipper of 66 years, the other was a French woman of 68 who resides in Uruguay. The names of the two missing people are being withheld until confirmation has been received that their families have been informed.
The yacht is now heading for Stanley under sail.
Last year Ocean Infinity, operating from Seabed Constructor, located the lost Argentine submarine San Juan. Early reports on the capsizing of the yacht have led to speculation that Seabed Constructor was in the area conducting further investigative work on the submarine. This is incorrect. The Seabed Constructor was in the area to resume a non-disturbance archaeological search-and-survey for Admiral Graf von Spee’s lost fleet that went down during the Battle of the Falklands in WWI.
- Pictures credit by Mensun Bound