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An EPIRB would have made no difference in this casualty since the operator was able to get off a Mayday message on VHF. A Coast Guard station was nearby, and had sufficient location information form the Mayday to proceed directly to the scene. Additional survival craft would have made no difference in lives saved, since all survived, but an inflatable buoyant apparatus would have prevented the injuries and hospitalization due to hypothermia. The source of the flooding in this case was not conclusively determined. A sprung plank was identified as a possibility, as was planking damage resulting from a line or net caught in the screw. Within the year, the ALMA III had replaced rotted structural members. The loss of the ALMA III can therefore be related to its wood construction and its age (48 years).

ACTUAL LIVES SAVED BY INDICATED EQUIPMENT:

Life jackets L/F-B/A Inf. B/A

5

Liferaft

MINIMUM EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO SAVE INDICATED NUMBER OF LIVES:

Lifejackets L/F-B/A Inf. BIA Liferaft

5

MINIMUM EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO PREVENT INDICATED NUMBER OF INJURIES: Lifejackets L/F-B/A Inf. BIA Liferaft

5

CONNIE D, 4/89

The CONNIE D had eight persons on board when it caught fire, burned to the waterline and sank about 30 miles off of the South Carolina coast. Water temperature was not reported in the message traffic, but according to NOAA data for April, it would probably have been about 68• F. The CONNIE D had a class A EPIRB which was what eventually led to the rescue of all eight persons. The operator was unable to broadcast a distress message due to loss of power as a result of the fire. The fire was discovered about 9:00 A.M., and everyone abandoned ship into the 22-person life float. The 121.5 MHz signal from the Class A EPIRB was received and relayed by the COSPAS/SARSAT system, but because of frequent false alerts and position ambiguity, the coast Guard does not respond to single hits on this frequency. After four hours of multiple reports, however, the location of the signal was determined and it was identified as a distress. An HH-65A helicopter was launched from Air Station Savannah (200 mi away) at 6:08 P.m., and homing on the EPIRB signal, located the survivors one hour and 15 minutes later at 7:20 P.M. The limited passenger capacity of the HH-65A required it to make two trips to the Myrtle Beach airport to get all survivors on shore. Nevertheless, the last survivor was aboard at 8:50 P.M., a little under 3 hours after departure from the air station, 200 miles away.

The vessel was certificated for 43 persons on ocean voyages, and so had a life float for 22 persons. Since there were only 8 persons on board, and the water was relatively warm, the life float proved adequate for the 12 hours it was used, however, all eight persons had to be treated for hypothermia at a hospital. The survivors of the CONNIE D owe their lives to the class A EPIRB. Nevertheless, the coast Guard did not respond until 9 hours after the casualty, because of shortcomings in the operation of the 121.5 MHz alerting system. A satellite EPIRB probably would have enabled the rescue to be completed within a few hours after the casualty. The search and rescue operation would have been completed in full daylight, and its likely that the survivors would not have needed treatment for hypothermia. Had the water temperature been just 10° F colder, this time might have meant the difference between life and death. At 50° F or 55° F, the water chill chart suggests that it's unlikely anyone would have survived a five-hour period. inflatable buoyant apparatus would have been required for longer survival times. The CONNIE D was 13 years old, which is not old for a wooden vessel. The fire started in the engine room, but spread throughout the vessel which then burned to the waterline. be concluded that wooden construction contributed to the loss of the vessel, but age was probably not a factor.

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ACTUAL LIVES SAVED BY INDICATED EQUIPMENT:

Lifejackets L/F-B/A Inf. BIA w/ Class A EPIRB

12

Liferaft

MINIMUM EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO SAVE INDICATED NUMBER OF LIVES:

Lifejackets L/F-B/A Inf. BIA Liferaft w/ sat. EPIRB

12 w/ no EPIRB

12

MINIMUM EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO PREVENT INDICATED NUMBER OF INJURIES:

Lifejackets L/F-B/A Inf. B/A Liferaft w/ sat. EPIRB

12 w/ no EPIRB

12

BRONX QUEEN, 12/89

The investigation on the BRONX QUEEN casualty is not yet complete, 80 the information in this section is taken from news stories. The BRONX QUEEN had 19 persons on board when it sank at the entrance to New York harbor. The BRONX QUEEN was able to broadcast a distress message before it sank, enabling rescuers to respond promptly. A Coast Guard 41 foot boat, and a rigid hull Inflatable from the pilot boat NEW JERSEY were on scene just as the vessel sank. Everyone on board had put on life jackets and jumped into the 43° F water. The two boats worked together to pull everyone from the water quickly. Two died apparently from

hypothermia, and three survivors had to be hospitalized. The BRONX QUEEN did not carry an EPIRB. None of the four buoyant apparatus were apparently used. The operator stated that the sinking might have been caused by a collision with a submerged object, but hull failure will also be considered by the investigation. Because the BRONX QUEEN was able to get a distress message broadcast before it sank, an EPIRB would have had no effect on this casualty. The survivors might have fared better if the buoyant apparatus were launched for them to hang onto. The better device would have been an inflatable buoyant apparatus. Survivors could have jumped into an inflatable buoyant apparatus alongside the sinking vessel, and awaited rescue out of the water.

The BRONX QUEEN was a 47 year-old boat, which may have been a factor in its sinking, but this has not yet been conclusively established since the investigation is not complete.

ACTUAL LIVES SAVED BY INDICATED EQUIPMENT :

Life jackets L/F-B/A Inf. B/A
17

o

Liferaft

MINIMUM EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO SAVE INDICATED NUMBER OF LIVES: Life jackets L/F-B/A Inf. B/A Liferaft

2

17

MINIMUM EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO PREVENT INDICATED NUMBER OF INJURIES:

Lifejackets L/F-BA Inf. BIA Liferaft 12

5

TUNA 9/89

Other than this summary, this study does not include the sinking of the TUNA. The report of this casualty was received after ali of the analysis was done. It fits the pattern of most of the other losses, however, in that the vessel was wood, and 56 years old when it was holed or sprung a plank after hitting a submerged object, about one mile offshore. The operator was able to summon help by radio. All ten persons on board put on their 11fejackets and as the vessel sank, jumped into the water and awaited rescue. The first boat to respond arrived just as the vessel sank. Water temperature was reported as "warm.“ There were no injuries to anyone resulting from the few minutes in the water. As in other casualties close to shore, an EPIRB would have made no difference in the outcome of this case. The lifejackets and buoyant apparatus were sufficient lifesaving equipment for the casualty.

DEBBY JOANN, 6/90

Other than this summary, this study also does not include the most recent case of the DEBBY JOANN, which sunk about 5 miles offshore in Cook Inlet, Alaska. This case has a number of

unusual aspects which make it difficult to analyze completely until the investigation 18 finished. It seems to be the only case where a vessel with a fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) hull (13 years old) was lost taking on water from an unknown source. The owner was the only person on board. The vessel was towing a small Boston Whaler at the time, which the owner used to row to shore. There was also one immersion suit on board, which was not required to be carried. It also had a 406 MHZ satellite EPIRB on board. The vessel's route was limited to 20 miles from a harbor of safe refuge, which would not require it to carry an EPIRB of any type under the present regulations. The EPIRB signal was picked up by the COSPAS/SARSAT system, and under the computer program in use at the time, identified it as being in an area where the Air Force is responsible for SAR. The Air Force assigned the case to the Civil Air Patrol, which was responding when the owner rowed ashore and turned the EPIRB off.

SEARCH AND RESCUE SURVIVAL DOCTRINE DEVELOPMENT

Question: The most recent U.S. Coast Guard Addendum to the National SAR Manual includes a Section 2.1 “Aspects of Survival.” Apparently this section was or is “TO BE DEVELOPED.” For the record please provide the Committee with the reasons that this section, along with other sections, have yet to be developed, and a timetable when we might expect this important section to be completed.

Answer: New material development for the Coast Guard Addendum to the National Search and Rescue (SAR) Manual was halted as the development of a new International SAR Manual was undertaken with other nations through the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization.

The new "International Aeronautical And Maritime Search and Rescue Manual" will contain much of the information currently contained in U.S. national and agency publications as well as a great deal of information beyond that currently available to U.S. SAR personnel. The International Manual will serve as the top level of Coast Guard SAR doctrine. The next level will be the National Supplement to the International Manual. This document will contain national-specific information. The final document will be an updated U.S. Coast Guard Addendum, and will contain agency-specific policy and doctrine.

Coast Guard-specific information, and information not adequately addressed by either the International Manual or National Supplement, will make up the contents of the next edition of the Coast Guard Addendum. “Aspects of Survival" and other sections needing development will be developed only if not covered adequately in the new International Manual and National Supplement.

The International Manual is in the final approval process and is scheduled for release and distribution in the fall of 1998. An interagency working group, under the auspices of the Interagency Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR), is currently working on the National Supplement. The plan is for this supplement to be released concurrently with the International Manual. Work is scheduled to begin on the Coast Guard addendum this spring with planned completion and distribution early in 1999.

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