Fears for Bribie Island couple missing off African coast
Fears for Bribie Island couple missing off African coast

Fears for Qld couple missing off African coast

A Bribie Island couple are feared dead after their boat sank in waters between Tanzania and Seychelles in East Africa, nearly one week ago.

Del and Craig McEwan, who had been sailing around the world for the last five years, have not been heard from since they made a call for help on the evening of Monday July 20.

According to Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA), the pair issued a distress beacon from their Australian registered catamaran in the Tanzanian search and rescue region, west of the Seychelles.

"This area is located over 3000 kilometres outside of Australia's search and rescue region and is well outside the range of Australian response assets," a AMSA spokeswoman said.

"As the beacon was registered to an Australian catamaran, AMSA was made aware of its activation. AMSA identified and contacted the closest and only available merchant ship, the tanker Atlantic Lily, (which) diverted to the location."

 

The tanker Atlantic Lily was diverted to the location the couple's beacon went off, but were unable to find the pair. Picture: vesselfinder.com
The tanker Atlantic Lily was diverted to the location the couple's beacon went off, but were unable to find the pair. Picture: vesselfinder.com

 

The AMSA spokeswoman said all attempts made by the Australian authority to alert Tanzanian rescue teams to the incident were unsuccessful, and as a result, nearby Seychelles authorities assumed formal responsibility for a rescue attempt.

"AMSA understands that upon arrival on scene the next morning (by the Atlantic Lily) the ship's crew encountered extremely challenging conditions, including rough seas and strong winds in darkness and that attempts to recover survivors were unsuccessful."

The couple met only six years ago when Del went to look at a boat to pursue her love of sailing. The boat's salesman - Craig - asked her out on a date.

Not long after, the pair sold their possessions and purchased a catamaran, which they have travelled the world on for the last five years.

It's understood the pair were able to make it to their life raft as their boat sank on Monday evening, however were unable to be recovered by the Atlantic Lily.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the family, while AMSA has expressed its condolences to the families involved, along with gratitude to the crew of Atlantic Lily who attempted to provide assistance.

Originally published as Fears for Qld couple missing off African coast


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