Smartfind G5 EPIRB helps international search and rescue operation to find sailors after yacht capsizes

An injured couple were rescued after their yacht capsized in the Pacific Ocean thanks to their McMurdo Smartfind G5 EPIRB that helped search and rescue services to locate them 385 nautical miles from land.

British yachtsman Stephen Jones and New Zealander Tania Davies were making their way from Tonga to New Zealand when
their 38ft yacht Windigo capsized
whilst battling 50mph winds and 30ft-high waves.


An international search and rescue operation was launched after the
couple’s McMurdo Smartfind G5 EPIRB was activated 385 nautical miles
south west of Tonga. On activation, the Smartfind G5 directly alerted the search and rescue authorities using the 406 MHz
search and rescue satellite communication system, COSPAS SARSAT – a
global government-controlled system comprising of more than 30 nations,
which defines a common standard for search and rescue by satellites.


Whilst the New Zealand Rescue Cordination Centre (RCCNZ) tasked a
Royal New Zealand Airforce Orion to their location, weather delayed any
prospect of rescue. Windigo did manage to right itself but the couple
were forced to cling to the damaged yacht for two days before weather
conditions finally calmed and the Hong Kong flagged cargo vessel MV
, which had diverted to the yacht’s position, was able to recover


Mr Jones and Ms Davies, who had suffered head and back injuries
during the ordeal, then turned south onboard MV CHENTU to rendevouz with
HMNZS OTAGO, which took them to Aukland where they arrived safely four days after capsizing.


For further information on McMurdo’s range of safety and emergency location beacon products, visit