Coast Guard Responding to Vessel 170 Miles Out

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A Coast Guard C-130, and an HH-60 Jayhawk Rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., are responding to a 406 MHz distress signal from a sailboat approximately 170-miles east of Elizabeth City.

The vessel is a German flagged 43-foot sailboat with five people onboard. The distress signal was generated by an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) attached to the boat. The C-130 crew on scene indicates that the boat is demasted and has fouled proppellers.

The boat departed Washington, D.C., on Sunday enroute to the Azores.

The Coast Guard wants all mariners to know that beginning Feb. 1, 2009, only distress alerts from 406 MHz beacons will continue to be detected and processed by search and rescue satellites worldwide. Older model Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons or Emergency Locator Transmitters that only transmit a distress alert on 121.5 MHz or 243 MHz will not be instantly sent to search and rescue personnel. The only way these signals might be heard is by a passive radio listener tuned in to the 121.5/243 MHz frequencies.

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