Sunday, 23 November 2014

Cruise ship Saga Pearl II sails to the rescue of injured yachtsman in mid-Atlantic

Saga Pearl II
To the rescue: Saga Pearl II diverts from cruise to aid injured yachtsman


EXCLUSIVE  by LESLEY BELLEW
 
Cruise ship Saga Pearl II made a dramatic rescue in the middle of the North Atlantic last night (Saturday, Nov 22) to bring aboard a seriously injured French yachtsman.
On route to Cape Verde, Captain Wesley Dunlop answered a call for assistance from the Portuguese marine authorities and made a 90-mile diversion to meet the catamaran Coco Jet III.
Nicolas Hauzy, 36, needed 28 stitches after he lacerated his left leg on the drive shaft of his yacht’s engine while cruising from the Canary Islands to Martinique.
Within four hours from the distress call on Saturday afternoon, Saga Pearl II came in sight of the yacht. As darkness fell, Capt Dunlop manoeuvred the ship to allow the catamaran to come leeside, thereby cutting out the wind.
In two-metre swells the yacht drifted close to the ship and Mr Hauzy made a dramatic jump on board the 400-passenger cruise ship.
Capt Dunlop had been expecting to put out a pontoon to allow the ship’s doctor to board the yacht and assess the patient.

Capt Dunlop said: “It was a 
most difficult operation because of the swell and the crew dealt with it very well.
“We had intended to get onto the yacht but when it came right alongside Mr Hauzy made the jump. In an emergency you always plan ahead but very often have to adjust those plans depending on the situation when you arrive on scene.
“Mr Hauzy is a very brave man.”
Mr Hauzy, who was part-way through a year’s sailing trip with his family, said he there had been a problem with the yacht’s hydraulic motor and as he was attempting to fix it his trouser leg got caught in the engine drive shaft.
He said: “I bandaged myself up and put a distress procedure in place because I was worried that I would not be able to take care of the yacht and my family.
“Captain Dunlop is the very best captain I have ever encountered. My worst fear was that I would not be able to board the ship. It was so impressive that a big ship came to my rescue and changed course to come to help a small vessel. I cannot thank the captain and medical team enough.”
The ship’s doctor David Townsend had been prepared to board the catamaran but instead attended the Parisian businessman in the ship’s medical centre.  He said: “It was a severe laceration to the inside left of the ankle, needing 28 stitches.”
Mr Hauzy said: “I was surprised to see such a professional medical set-up on the ship. I did not realise there would be a doctor and nurses on board. I am again very thankful. They said that they had dealt with worse than this!”
The drama unfolded when Saga Pearl II was within 200 miles of Sao Vicente, in Cape Verde. Capt Dunlop made a public announcement to say he had received a message from the Portuguese Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) that a French yacht had reported one of its crew was injured and in need of urgent medical assistance.

As Saga Pearl II was the nearest vessel with a doctor on board, Capt Dunlop took the decision to change course to answer the call.
Passengers were kept informed throughout the operation with a further message from the captain at 6pmstating he had received further information that the passenger had suffered a ‘very nasty gash’ on the leg.  He explained that the plan of action was for two of his crew to board the yacht, exiting from a lower deck shell door, and put out a pontoon for the yacht to come alongside.
Capt Dunlop also gave passengers good notice that he would be turning the ship sideways and reducing speed, explaining that the stabilisers would therefore not be as effective.
During the rescue passengers continued with their formal dinner, the ladies dressed in glamorous cocktail gowns and the men in dinner suits and bow ties.
Mr Hauzy is expected to rejoin his family, including his wife Adelaide and his four children, Tristan, 10, Hadrien, nine, Athenias, four, and Ignace, two, when Coco Jet III arrives in Porto Grande on Monday.