Friday, July 9, 2010

iPhone app helped find lost boat

From BBC News

A vessel in distress on the Ireland waterways between Kesh and Enniskillen owes its happy ending to an iPhone application.

Motor cruiser, the Wee Rascal, called 999 in the early hours of Sunday morning asking for assistance as the weather worsened.

However, an extensive search of the area around its reported position by Enniskillen RNLI and the Erne Coastguard Rescue team was fruitless.

With no flares, flash lights or VHF radio onboard, the Wee Rascal was unable to signal its position to rescuers.

It was then that the Belfast Coastguard resorted to mobile phone technology a locator iPhone app was able to give rescuers the vital latitude and longitude they needed.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the cruiser was finally located 25 miles away from its reported position, dangerously amongst the rocky shoreline off Eagle Point ("Gubnagole Point").

It was brought away from the rocks by Enniskillen and taken to the safety of Belleek marina.

Coastguard Watch Manager Steven Carson said it was a "combination of luck and technology" that saved those onboard.

"They had charts on board but obviously no real idea of how to get to their destination or how to report their position in an emergency," he continued.

"Vital hours were wasted eliminating one possible location after another, time that we wouldn't have had if the vessel had struck the rocks and sunk."

"I hope that this experience will help the crew to realize why navigation training is essential for all mariners, whether you're on a lough or the open sea."

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