A solo yachtsman left Pittwater, on Sydney's northern beaches, two weeks ago heading for Eden on the New South Wales south coast. An emergency beacon was activated early Tuesday with the man reporting that his boat had been drifting away from land.
Because of the remote location, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority asked two airliners passing over the man's GPS position to confirm his whereabouts.
An Air Canada Boeing 777 flying from Vancouver, B.C., diverted from its course to check on the distressed yacht. Air Canada said its plane swooped down at about 1,200 meters while the crew peered out using binoculars borrowed from passengers.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Tuesday the crew and a number of passengers aboard flight AC033 spotted the boat and advised authorities of its location. He said the yachtsman was subsequently rescued. He said the airline commends the crew and passengers.
"The pilots immediately determined they had sufficient fuel to undertake this, and headed out to the remote area which was over fairly rough seas. After apprising the customers onboard that we would assist as we were the only aircraft in the immediate vicinity, all onboard became involved in the search efforts," Fitzpatrick said.
"The crew borrowed binoculars from customers and also engaged those sitting on the right hand side of the aircraft to help look. As our aircraft flew over the area at 4,000 feet, a reflection from a mirror shining upwards was spotted and the crew saw the yacht in question, de-masted with a person standing -- which was confirmed by a number of passengers."
More Northwest Headlines
Evacuation order lifted for town of Roosevelt 3:47 p.m. $1 million bail for man accused of shooting at Fife police 3:49 p.m. Cattle becomes Oregon’s top agricultural commodity 2:12 p.m. Yakima guaranteed at least 1 Latino council member 2:12 p.m. Christian school in Oregon sued over firing pregnant, unwed educator 1:54 p.m. Family of man who died in Spokane jail files claim seeking at least $6.5M 1:40 p.m. Federal charge filed in Seattle hate crime State Board of Education to set bar for Common Core tests
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.