FALSE ALARM: The Westpac Rescue Life Saver Helicopter was tasked to Sandy Beach on Thursday evening.
FALSE ALARM: The Westpac Rescue Life Saver Helicopter was tasked to Sandy Beach on Thursday evening. David Vile

Westpac Helicopter tasked after distress beacon activated

THE Westpac Rescue Life Saver Helicopter was tasked to Sandy Beach on Thursday evening after an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was unintentionally activated.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Search and Rescue assisted before the incident was found to be a false alarm.

EPIRBs use GPS tracking to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency, and can be activated manually or automatically following an incident.

A spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Life Saver Helicopter said the EPIRB had been set off accidentally.

"EPIRBs can be set off by vibrations," he said.

"They're usually mounted to the wall of a boat, which minimises the vibrations.

"In this case, the device was placed inside the boat as it was put onto the boat trailer, and vibrations caused it to activate."

He said the search was called off after the boaties were found safe and well.

"It does happen fairly often with the EPIRBs being set off because they've been placed in the bottom of the boat."

AMSA said EPIRBS should be placed in a mounting bracket or a grab bag with flares and other safety equipment.

 

A current 406 EPIRB.
A current 406 EPIRB. Chris Ison


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