Early in the morning of Monday 21 November, ARC+ Rally Control was notified of serious injuries to two crew on board the yacht Alika, sailing as part of the rally. The yacht had experienced a sudden loss of steering which caused the vessel to move in an abrupt motion resulting in injuries to two crew members. A PAN PAN was issued via VHF and ARC+ yachts Alexandra and One Piece diverted course to stand by.
One crew member has sustained a severe compound fracture to the ankle and a second crew member has a concussion. The yacht’s crew has sufficient medical supplies on board, and they are being assisted with remote medical advice from ashore.
Following the PAN PAN call, MRCC Ponta Delgada was assigned control of the incident, conducting a medical assessment via TMAS Portsmouth of the patients and concluding evacuation of the crew members should take place. The 73m motor yacht Planet Nine was contacted to assist, diverting course to rendezvous with Alika, where the injured crew are in a stable condition and receiving medication.
By Monday evening, M/Y Planet Nine reached the vicinity of Alika, with the conditions on the scene of sustained winds of 25+ knots and a swell of 2-3m. The forecast for conditions in the area shows little immediate reduction in wind or swell, and evacuation at this time has been deemed too risky. Alika and M/Y Planet Nine continue to assess means of transferring the casualties and have changed course for a northerly route towards Antigua, which is hoped to deliver more favourable conditions for the transfer sooner.
ARC+ Rally Control continues to be in contact with agencies MRCC Ponta Delgada coordinating the situation, Weather Routing INC for forecast updates, and MSOS providing medical consultation to the crews. The ARC+ fleet is being appraised of the situation by fleet messages sent by email, and the next of kin of the casualties on board Alika have been informed.
Update 27/11: The crew member with the severe ankle fracture has been safely transferred to Planet Nine on 26/11, accompanied by two crew members. The second casualty has remained onboard and is improving whilst being monitored for concussion and head trauma. Alika is now bound for Antigua with an ETA on 01 Dec 2022. All crew are well.