McMurdo EPIRB distress beacon saves injured couple

McMurdo, a business of the Orolia Group has helped save the lives of an injured couple in the Pacific Ocean after activating their Smartfind G5 EPIRB, when their boat capsized in a storm.

Stephen Jones, a 52 year old British yachtsman and Tania Davies, 43 from New Zealand were making their way from Tonga to New Zealand when the storm struck on 7th November and their yacht, Windigo, capsized whilst battling 50mph winds and 30ft-high waves.

An international search and rescue operation was launched when the couple’s McMurdo Smartfind G5 EPIRB was activated 385 nautical miles south west of Tonga.  On activation, the Smartfind G5 provided a direct method of alerting the search and rescue authorities using the 406 MHz search and rescue satellite communication system, COSPAS SARSAT; a global government-controlled system comprising of more than 30 nations, which defines a common standard for search and rescue by satellites (  

Whilst the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) tasked a Royal New Zealand Airforce Orion to their location, weather delayed any prospect of rescue.  The couple were forced to cling to the damaged yacht for two days before weather conditions finally calmed and the Hong Kong flagged cargo vessel MV CHENTU, which had diverted to the yacht’s position, was able to recover them.

Mr Jones and Ms Davies, who had suffered head and back injuries during the ordeal, then turned south onboard MV CHENTU to rendevouz with HMNZS OTAGO, which took them to Aukland where they arrived safely on Sunday 11th November. 

McMurdo offers a range of emergency location beacon products including EPIRBs, PLBs (Personal Location Beacons), SARTs, AIS Beacons, NAVTEX and VHF Radios.

For further information on McMurdo’s range of safety and emergency location beacon products, visit

To search for safety products needed at sea visit, Yachting Pages' list of safty equipment providers

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