The body of the missing crew member was located by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Dauphin helicopter at 12.30 pm AWST yesterday, and recovered by Fremantle Water Police.
AMSA detected a distress beacon at 11.45 pm AWST last night (23 February 2018) which was registered to the 15 metre yacht Finistere with six people on board. The yacht’s crew were participating in the Bunbury and Return Ocean Race.
Attempts to contact the yacht directly via radio were unsuccessful and the yacht’s tracker failed to update at 12 am AWST.
AMSA advised the Fremantle Water Police of the incident and tasked the DFES RAC Rescue helicopter 652. The helicopter arrived on scene at 12.30 am AWST and sighted an overturned yacht in the water. Two other yachts participating in the race, Huckleberry and Fourth Dimension, arrived on scene around the same time.
The assisting yachts recovered five of the six crew members from the water. Sadly one person was deceased.
AMSA coordinated a search for the sixth crew member using a number of aviation and marine assets, including the DFES RAC Rescue helicopters 652 and 651 as well as the DFES Dauphin helicopter with air observers from Melville and Bassendean State Emergency Service on board.
A West Australian Police helicopter and an additional helicopter also provided assistance during the search, as did the Fremantle Water Police, Mandurah, Rockingham and Bunbury Volunteer Marine Rescue crews and two yachts from the race, Fourth Dimension and Circa.
Following the recovery of the sixth crew member’s body from the water at 12.30 pm AWST today, the search operation has ended.
AMSA would like to express its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Finistere’s crew. AMSA would also like to thank all parties involved in today’s extensive search.
The incident has been referred to police who will prepare a report for the coroner.