Two Norwegian Brothers, Trapped on Sinking Vessel 300 Miles Off Australian Coast, Send Mayday Message from Magellan GSC 100 Communication
SAN DIMAS, CA (August 20, 1999) Two Norwegian brothers, Messrs. Arne and Christian Froensdal, were rescued earlier this week from their sinking sailboat using the Magellan GSC 100 hand-held communicator.
Magellan's portable GSC 100 e-mail messaging transmitter/receiver allows users to communicate from anywhere on Earth by accessing the ORBCOMM satellite constellation. The GSC 100 also has integrated positioning and navigation capabilities that use the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation. Featuring technology that allows users to plot and navigate a course and identify and communicate their position or other information to anyone on Earth who has an e-mail address, voice or fax service, the GSC 100 became a lifesaver for the Froensdal brothers during a recent journey at sea.
In the early morning hours of August 18, more than 300 nautical miles off the East Coast of Australia, the Froensdals, aboard their catamaran, the Iris, suffered the structural failure and collapse of their mast. They were experiencing 15-knot winds and nine-foot seas at the time. Along with their mast, they lost their VHF antenna. The only communications tool left on board was the Magellan GSC 100, the world's first personal satellite messaging device.
Arne Froensdal used the Magellan GSC 100 to send a distress message through the ORBCOMM satellite network. Within minutes, ORBCOMM Customer Operations received his message: "MAYDAY. Mast lost. Need immediate assistance. Please notify Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Canberra, Australia."
Because the Magellan GSC 100 provides precise latitude and longitude coordinates using its built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, ORBCOMM Customer Operations' representatives were able to notify the Australian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) of the position coordinates for the Froensdal's disabled catamaran. The RCC immediately launched a search-and-rescue mission and ORBCOMM representatives sent a message to Arne Froensdal to inform him that the RCC had been notified.
Throughout the rescue effort, ORBCOMM, the RCC and the Froensdal brothers relied on the GSC 100 to relay messages. One alarming update indicated that the fallen mast had punctured the starboard hull. The Iris was taking on water and Arne and Christian, both experienced sailors, needed to be taken off the Iris immediately.
ORBCOMM received confirmation several hours later that a French military aircraft, using the GSC 100's precise location information, had located the crew and vessel and dropped a life raft. The following morning, the Australian Maritime RCC informed ORBCOMM that the Froensdals had been rescued and were en route via ship to the Australian mainland.
"We are happy that the Froensdal brothers are safe," said Scott L. Webster, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ORBCOMM. "This would not have been possible without the swift reaction of ORBCOMM's Customer Operations department, as well as the immediate cooperation of the Australian RCC. ORBCOMM is proud to have played a role in their rescue."
"This is an example of the benefits that come from combining the Global Positioning System - GPS - with a globally available communications system - ORBCOMM," said John Huyett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Magellan Corporation.
"We are incredibly grateful for this service," said Arne Froensdal via phone on board the Capricorn Star rescue vessel. "I can't even describe how much this product and organization helped us." Arne's wife, Inger Lise Weedon, speaking by phone from her home in Norway, added, "It is a miracle that Arne and Christian are alive today. There is no way that they would have been rescued if their precise coordinates had not been provided to the Australian RCC. Two men are alive today thanks to this service."
ORBCOMM is a partnership owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) and Teleglobe Inc. of Canada. Teleglobe is listed on the NYSE, TSE (Toronto Stock Exchange) and ME (Montreal Exchange) under the TGO symbol. Orbital is a space technology company that designs, manufactures and markets a broad range of space products and satellite-based services. Orbital's experience includes carrying out more than 275 satellite, rocket and space payload missions during the past 15 years. Teleglobe Inc. is recognized as a world leader in global telecommunications. The Teleglobe network links North America with more than 240 countries and territories. For more information on ORBCOMM services, visit the company's website at http://www.orbcomm.com.