Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Andrew McAuley Missing

Ralph Buttigieg
Sydney NSW
I was hoping to report Andrew McAuley's successful crossing of the Tasman this weekend but it appears thats not to be. All comunications with him have been lost and an upturned kayak has been spoted by the New Zealand Air Force. reports:

Searchers spot upturned kayak

A NEW Zealand Air Force plane searching for missing Aussie kayaker Andrew McAuley has spotted an upturned kayak in the waters off the South Island, about 75km west of Milford Sound.

It was not immediately clear if the kayak was his and no-one was seen around the vessel, rescuers said.

Although failing light has made visibility poor, rescuers have said the search would be able to continue so long as a helicopter sent to the scene of the spotting was able to keep its sights on the kayak.

"It won't be too dark as long as they can see the kayak. They know where it is and I'm sure they would have dropped a smoke flare so it was more easily found," New Zealand National Rescue Coordination Centre (NRCC) Lyndsay Sturt has said.

"There's a spotlight on board the helicopter (but) we'll have to make a decision about what next when we know if he's on board. We just don't know that at this stage."

Mr McAuley lost contact with his support team two days ago.

A New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft and three yachts began heading for an area where he was believed to be in trouble after a garbled message was monitored in New Zealand on the maritime distress channel 16.

Lets pray he is found OK.
UPDATE 11 Feb 2007
Authorities have recovered the kayak and the immersion suit and lifejacket were missing. That probably means Andrew had them on when he was lost, which is good news as there is still a chance of recovery. More news here.