Mission 5 saved 484 people vom drowning

“People became desperate and began jumping into the water”

From the Logbook auf Captain Chris Orlamünder
We received information of MRCC Rome about 4 rubber boats at 0800 per Satellite phone with coordinates of 4 sightings. Upon request we immediately began proceeding to the position and searching for the vessels in distress.At 0930 we saw the first rubber boat and in the next hour we sighted 3 more rubber boats. A SAR plane was on scene und began circling around the 4 boats in distress. After contacting MRCC, we began supplying life jackets for in total 4 overcrowded rubber boats with estimated 500 people.

 At 1005 MRCC Rome informed us, that 2 Fast Rescue boats of Italian coastguard will start towards us from Lampedusa but will take possibly 5 hours to arrive. We also got information about a tanker, which was summoned by MRCC to proceed to our position.

 At 1140 Sea-Eye RIB requests 3 life rafts to stabilize partly deflated blue rubber boat with people in despair. While transferring people to life rafts approx. 20-30 people jumped into the water and had to be brought back to life rafts and rubber boat. Some people in the water were brought to Sea-Eye. Also, the RIB crew was made aware by people on rubber boat of dead persons on board.

 At 1145 we had contact with motor tanker OHIO (length: 250m), who offered to help us with a leeward situation and eventually gave us windshield for our rescue operation. Ohio was summoned by MRCC Rome to be the on-scene-coordinator for this SAR event.

 At 1215, after providing life jackets to all people on all 4 rubber boats, Sea-Eye decides disembarking women and children from the still instable blue rubber boat. After this disembarkation and the information of MRCC Rome, that support vessels will possibly arrive around 1900, for safety reasons we decided to disembark all women and small children from all 4 rubber boats: 5 children and 32 women.
 During the ongoing waiting period, we tried to support all 4 vessels, and keep them together with our RIB. Because high wind and waves we managed to keep 3 of them together, one drifted away southward but was found later by Italian coastguard.

 Through the waiting period until arriving of support vessels, people became desperate on 1 specific boat and began jumping into the water even after our RIB going backwards and leaving them alone. Eventually we had to rescue them with our RIB out of the water. We rescued around 20-30 people out of the water and brought them on the Sea-Eye. This took place at several times until support vessels later arrived.

 At 1900 two Fast Rescue boats of Italian coastguard arrived. One helped us rescuing people out of the water (one person drowned and was reanimated on Sea-Eye, but eventually died). The other boat went after the fourth rubber boat which drifted away.

 At 1930 tug boat arrived and began disembarking people from the instable boat and the three life rafts.

 At 2000 Italian Navy ship arrived on scene and supported Italian Coastguard with their Navy RIB.

 At around 2030 CP 941 appeared on scene and took over the on-scene- coordination.

 At around 2045 OHIO leaves scene.

 Until 2300 transferal of most people on to CP941, but not from Sea-Eye.
Navy, tug boat and Fast Rescue ships leave the scene.

At 2300 CP 941 asks us to crane our RIB, leave the actual position (13nm
from shore) and proceed some miles north. Finally, CP 941 disembarks
people aboard Sea-Eye and returns life jackets with their tenders.

At 0015 CP 941 and Sea-Eye split and proceeded northward.

Sea-Eye Crew thanks everyone involved in this SAR event!