The airlifting of the shipwrecked crew of the MFV Geo Searcher from Gough Island to the SA Agulhas II.

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Geo Searcher Crew Airlifted from Gough Island

Update from Chief Islander Jame Glass, at 15:00 21st October 2020

The Agulhas II arrived at Gough yesterday, but the winds were too strong to fly the helicopters. The weather has since moderated slightly and this afternoon the crew of the Geo Searcher are currently being airlifted to the SA Agulhas II, hopefully by this evening they will be on their way to Tristan to drop off the two Tristan Sea Fishery Observers.

This archive photo by Chris Jones shows the SA Agulhas II off the Gough Island Met. Station in September 2019

Press Release from the South African Maritime Safety Authority

The following press release, issued this morning, gives further information about operations at Gough Island on Tuesday 20th October.

Geo Searcher - Rescue Operation Update

The SA Agulhas II arrived at Gough Island at 1240SA time on Tuesday, 20 October after departing Cape Town on 17 October 2020. The vessel is at the Island on a rescue mission to bring the crew of the Geo Searcher back to South Africa after the vessel sank late last week.

With the weather conditions unfavourable for any boat work to transfer survivors from island to vessel, it was decided that all transfers will be conducted by helicopter as it would present less risk in the prevailing weather conditions.

The first flight departed the vessel at 1315 SA Time, however it could not land and had to return back to the vessel due to strong winds gusting up to 40 knots. The operation will resume once weather conditions subsides

The current plan is to embark all 62 crew of the Geo Search on the SA Agulhas II before heading to Tristn da Cunha to drop the two Tristanian survivors from where the vessel will then proceed to Cape Town.

Arrival in Cape Town will be dependent on when the crew can be all safely embarked on the vessel along with weather conditions that may affect the sailing time. All indications are that it will take approximately 4 to 5 days before the vessel arrives in Cape Town.