November 19, 2018 (Google Translation) – On 3 November 2018, an extraordinary Franco-Spanish rescue operation was coordinated by the Regional Operational Rescue and Monitoring Center (CROSS) Mediterranean 80 nautical miles (about 150 km) north of the Balearic Islands.
At 1 am, the CROSS Méditerranée is alerted by the Gris-Nez CROSS of the detection of a French distress beacon. The latter comes from an unidentified mobile. The CROSS distributes distress relays and defeats several merchant ships to begin unsuccessful searches. At sunrise, the CROSS requests the Navy’s operational center for the commitment of a Falcon 50M . It takes off at 7:30 from the Naval Air Base Lann-Bihoué and is on the zone around 8:50 to make a first identification.
After 15 minutes of research, the Falcon , guided by the latest positions provided by the CROSS, identifies and identifies the boat in distress, the French ship O2 with 3 people on board, partly thanks to the implementation of smoke. The crew of the aircraft then requests the reinforcement of the first available warning helicopter in the area in order to evacuate the boat. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) in Madrid, pre-alerted by the CROSS Med, immediately fires an AW139 helicopter from Palma de Mallorca aerodrome.
Meanwhile, shipowners are ordered to prepare for an evacuation and to take stock of their survival equipment (food, water supplies).
Arrived on the spot, the Spanish helicopter not being able to establish a radio contact with the boat, passes by means of the Falcon 50M , contact particularly important because it conditions the course of the rescue.
The height of the mast of the sailboat decided the Spanish crew to make a winch from the liferaft, option finally abandoned after spotting damage on the latter. The three Frenchmen went to the water to be helped and taken care of by the Spanish rescue diver, before being transferred to the nearest airport.
The success of this rescue mission, carried out in particularly difficult weather conditions and degraded technical conditions, illustrates the excellent cooperation of all rescue actors, French (CROSSMED, COM) and Spanish (MRCC).