SEA RESCUE – SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN – Sunday, 21 September, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard monitoring the progress of an injured South African solo sailor in the South Pacific:
The United States Coast Guard Honolulu Coordination Centre have confirmed to NSRI that they are monitoring the progress of lone South African sailor Gert Bosch, 52, who was injured just after midnight while solo sailing on his 38 foot yacht LYCAON in the vicinity of Fanning Island in a remote part of the South Pacific, South of Hawaii.
At this stage Gert is under sail and motor power heading towards a nearby Island, Palmyra Island, Palmyra Atoll, about 2 days from his current location which is about half way between the United States mainland and Australia and once he reaches the island, all going well, he will seek medical care and if need be they have a landing strip on the island so he can be evacuated off the island.
He is about 100 nautical miles from Palmyra Atoll at present.
Gert fell on his yacht during a storm and was unable to move suspecting he had fractured his hip at around midnight (South Pacific Time) (They are 12 hours ahead of South African time).
It appears he could not reach his VHF radio to call for help as he feared any movement may cause the suspected hip fracture to worsen so he phoned his brother Eugene in Durban via his satellite phone and Eugene contacted NSRI HQ (at 13h11 South African time today) requesting NSRI’s help to raise the alarm.
NSRI HQ contacted the US Coast Guard Honolulu Coordination Centre who broadcast an all ships alert and activated a rescue operation but the remote location meant help may only arrive much later.
After a few hours of remaining immobile on his yacht and resting, and while a rescue operation was being launched, Gert then confirmed that he was able to move around a bit and despite being in a lot of pain he had managed to get his yacht under motor power and he is currently heading towards Palmyra Island, about 2 days away.
While a hip fracture remains suspected Gert appears to be bruised but able to move around his yacht although with minimal movement he appears to be mobile enough to take care of himself for now and it might be that he hasn’t actually fractured his hip but that can be better assessed when he reaches land. For now he is not requesting any immediate assistance.
The US Coast Guard have confirmed that they will remain in contact with Gert and are monitoring his progress and they have alerted authorities on the island to expect Gert and if things get worse a rescue can and will be activated.
According to his brother Eugene Gert has been sailing abroad for about the past 5 years and had previously worked in the Northern Cape in mining. The brothers grew up in Pretoria.
He had apparently last been sailing around Samoa and had been through two hurricanes during his most recent voyage.
NSRI, Gert’s brother Eugene, The Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the US Consulate (South Africa) will remain informed of Gert’s progress and the US Coast Guard Honolulu Coordination Centre are actively monitoring his progress until he is safely ashore but for now no active rescue operation is deemed necessary.