Magellan GPS system helps rescue stricken sailors at sea

Two Norwegian sailors perhaps did not realize how much they needed a combination Global Positioning System (GPS) and wireless communications system before they were stricken at sea. They found — after their rescue — that the Magellan GSC 100 hand-held communications system from Magellan Corp. in San Dimas, Calif., was precisely what they needed.

Dec 1st, 1999

Two Norwegian sailors perhaps did not realize how much they needed a combination Global Positioning System (GPS) and wireless communications system before they were stricken at sea. They found — after their rescue — that the Magellan GSC 100 hand-held communications system from Magellan Corp. in San Dimas, Calif., was precisely what they needed.

Norwegian brothers Arne and Christian Froensdal were sailing their catamaran the Iris 300 nautical miles off the east coast of Australia Aug. 18 when 9-foot seas and 15-knot winds broke off their mast and structurally damaged their boat, according to a Magellan announcement. With the lost mast they also lost their VHF radio antenna.

The only communications tool left on board was the Magellan GSC 100 personal satellite-messaging device. The brothers used it to send a distress message through the ORBCOMM satellite network, where the network customer operations branch received this message: "Mayday. Mast lost. Need immediate assistance. Please notify maritime rescue coordination center Canberra, Australia."

Not only does the Magellan GSC 100 send wireless data message, but it also provides precise latitude and longitude coordinates using its built-in GPS receiver. ORBCOMM personnel were able to tell rescue workers right were the stricken boat was. ORBCOMM representatives sent a message to the Froensdal brothers to tell them that help was on the way.

A French military aircraft, using the coordinates from the GPS unit, located the crew and boat and dropped a life raft. Australian authorities picked up the two sailors the next morning.

"We are incredibly grateful for this service, said Arne Froensdal via phone on board the Capricorn Star rescue vessel. "I can`t even describe how much this product and organization helped us." — J.K.

For more information on the GSC 100, contact Magellan by phone at 909-394-5000, by fax at 909-394-7050, by post at 960 Overland Court, San Dimas, Calif. 91773, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.magellangps.com/.

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