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June 10, 2011

PLB assists in Bahamas rescue

The incident was the second Cobham ACR PLB-assisted rescue of boaters in the Bahamas reported in the last several weeks.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - Cobham's ACR personal locator beacon (PLB) was key in assisting rescuers locate a boater in the Bahamas who became stranded after a fire onboard. The incident was the second Cobham ACR PLB-assisted rescue of boaters in the Bahamas reported in the last several weeks.

Kim Landeweer, a highly experienced boater and a partner in a custom builder of exclusive sportfishing boats, was boating off Bimini with a friend on May 24th when he encountered problems with his Boston Whaler.  A frequent visitor to Bimini and the Bahama Out Islands, Landeweer was familiar with the surrounding waters and his options as darkness began setting in.

Landeweer said he saw his oil pressure needle drop to zero, and noticed a smell of burning plastic. Landeweer said he put the boat in neutral, and saw black smoke emerging from the console.  Landeweer fought the fire with an extinguisher, but the flames spread quickly and damaged the electronics.

"The radio was dead, so we decided to activate our ACR personal locator beacon," Landeweer said.

Help came around 9:30 p.m. in the form of a twin engine U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Plane flying a search pattern.  Landeweer and his companion activated the PLB at 6:50 p.m., and saw the first pass of the U.S. Coast Guard plane at 9:30 p.m.  They were pinpointed at 10 p.m. and towed back to shore at 11:30 p.m.

ACR Electronics, www.cobham.com/acr, designs and manufactures a complete line of safety and survival products including EPIRBs, PLBs, ELTs, AIS, SARTs, Strobe Lights, Life Jacket Lights, Search Lights and safety accessories. The quality systems of this facility have been registered by UL to the ISO 9001:2008 Series Standards. Recognized as the world leader in safety and survival technologies, ACR has provided safety equipment to the aviation and marine industries as well as to the military since 1956. The company is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

About Satellite Detectible Emergency Beacons                   
406 MHz EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and PLBs transmit signals on internationally recognized distress frequencies.  NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) monitors the 406 MHz signal and the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System (COSPAS-SARSAT) detects and locates distress signals and forwards the information directly to the Coast Guard.  GPS coordinates greatly assist search and rescue crews, and in the event GPS isn't acquired, position can be calculated through Doppler Shift as a reliable backup.

NOAA has reported that in 2010, Cospas-Sarsat assisted in the rescue of 180 people in 61 marine related incidents.  Worldwide, the Cospas-Sarsat system is credited with rescuing more than 28,000 people since the program's inception in 1982.  Of that number, more than 6,600 persons were rescued in the U.S.

An EPIRB/PLB is a satellite-signalling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted and where the situation is deemed to be grave and imminent, and the loss of life, limb, eyesight or valuable property will occur without assistance. All beacons must be registered online at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov following purchase.