The Science Of Survival

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ACR Customer Recounts Pacific Ocean Crash, Rescue


NOTE: The following post is from pilot Jeff Luboff, who activated an ACR PLB after surviving a single engine plane crash into the Pacific Ocean in 2005. Jeff checked in on the ACR/Artex Facebook Page yesterday to share his story: 

Hello all, it’s been awhile, Sept 1, 2005, I headed out to sea in my single engine airplane for an 8 hour day of scouting for fish. About 25 minutes out I noticed a drop in power and my first scan of my gauges told me my oil temp was up just a little. I made a few calls on the radio and told all I was headed for nearest land , Point Dume in Malibu, 12 miles away, and at the same time noticed I was not holding altitude (1000 feet). This meant I may not make land so I instantly reached for my survival gear, first securing my ACR PLB406, 121.5 and GPS-enabled for a quick fix on position around my neck by the lanyard and tucked it in my shirt.

I released the door pins but did not jettison the doors, then got my survival suit ready and continued towards the beach. Then, at 600 feet – “Boom” – a cylinder blew off the engine,  leaving only 3 and spraying all the oil on the windshield. The engine kept trying to run and at 400 feet I put out maydays and kept updating my position and heading. A minute later I successfully ditched, and got out of the airplane and activated my ACR aqua fix, which would put search and rescue within 10 square meters of my position. I then donned my survival suit and watched my plane sink in about 2 to 3 minutes. I had a bit of a bruise from the harness, and a small cut on my forehead but otherwise unscathed! An hour and 20 minutes later I was picked up. I always fly with a PLB in my pocket. Anyone out there thinking about the cost – they are WELL WORTH IT! Three years later my grandson was born – on Sept 1 st! Thanks ACR!

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USCG Swimmer Wins Prestigious Award for Rescue at Sea

The Association for Rescue at Sea, Inc. (AFRAS) will hold its annual awards ceremony and reception on 4 October 2012 on Capitol Hill.

The event will be co-hosted by the Honorable Howard Coble, co-chairman, U.S. Congressional Coast Guard Caucus. AFRAS will award the Gold Medal, the Silver Medal and the Amver (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) plaque for outstanding rescues made in 2011.

The Gold Medal and a cash prize will be presented to Randall J. Rice, Chief Warrant Officer, US Coast Guard; the Silver Medal and a cash prize will be awarded to the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Facility 25371 and the Amver plaque will go to the Captain and crew of M/V Oleander.

Chief Warrant Officer Randall J. Rice of US Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod will receive the prestigious AFRAS Gold Medal for his heroic life-saving actions on 10 May 2011 while serving as rescue swimmer aboard Coast Guard Helicopter CG6004.

At approximately noon, Rice and his crew launched from Air Station Cape Cod in response to a distress call received from the 45-foot sailing vessel EVA, located 150 nautical miles southeast of Cape Cod. Pounding seas and gale force winds had ripped the mast off the vessel and shattered the windows endangering the lives of the crew. The surrounding waters and deck were littered with sails, lines and debris.

Arriving at an updated position relayed from a concurrently launched HU-25 Aircraft, and unable to establish communications with the vessel, Rice and his crew conducted a search to locate S/V EVA in the tossing 20-30 foot waves. Rice eventually spotted the vessel and vectored the pilot into position.

The aircraft commander initially made the decision not to deploy the rescue swimmer due to numerous hazards in the water, but after further assessment it was determined that deployment was required in order to save the two crewmen – one having sustained a back injury.

Chief Warrant Officer Rice entered the water, maneuvered through the 30-foot swells and debris to the vessel and climbed aboard. He quickly cleared the deck of rubble and prepared for two basket hoists of the crew. He meticulously executed each hoist from the deck of EVA as the thrashing waves and raging winds battered the vessel. His swift actions were instrumental in the saving of two lives.

The Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) is a non-profit foundation with charitable status, which supports services concerned with saving lives at sea. Other awards to be presented at the ceremony include the Silver Medal, and the AFRAS AMVER Award.

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Win an ACR ResQLink+ PLB!

ACR is giving away a ResQLink+ Personal Locator Beacon. To enter the sweepstakes, CLICK ON THIS LINK and “Like” the ACR/Artex Facebook Page. The, just fill in your name and email address and you are entered!

The contest closes 9/30/12. The winner will be announced on 10/1/12 on our Fscebook Page. Limit one (1) entry per person, per month.

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Coast Guard Rescues Father, Son From Sinking Plane


NOTE: The following story appears courtesy of ABC News.

A single-engine amphibious plane that lost power off California’s central coast plunged into the ocean so hard, its doors broke off the hinges, one of the two men onboard said Monday.

The 77-year-old pilot and his adult son then sat in the aircraft in seas swelling with 8-foot waves and teeming with elephant seals for nearly two hours before a Coast Guard helicopter hoisted them to safety and their pontoon plane sank.

Stanley Shaw and son Stanford Shaw, 36, were flying at 1,500 feet over the ocean Sunday afternoon about five miles north of San Simeon when the aircraft lost power.

The Cessna 185 Skywagon pontoon plane, a six-seater the Shaws have owned for 20 years, was carrying the men from Camarillo Airport to British Columbia for an annual salmon fishing excursion in Canada.

“We flew it two hours without a problem, then there was a loss of power,” Stanford Shaw told The Associated Press from his Santa Barbara home.

“It was pretty big seas,” he said. “We hit three times. It broke the doors off the hinges. We hit the first time and bounced way up in the air. We hit again and on the third one, we hit like a belly flop.”

The plane’s beacon alerted rescuers to the aircraft’s whereabouts a mile offshore.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

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Satellite Technology Increases Chance of Survival

Did you know that over 30,000 lives have been saved since search and rescue began using the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite-aided tracking program?
That number could have been much higher if more mariners, aviators and hikers had been outfitted with a rescue beacon…

Check out this great article by Ed Killer from

COSPAS-SARSAT Rescues through August 30, 2012

Number of People Rescued in Calendar Year 2012 in the United States: 170

  • Rescues at sea: 119 people rescued in 37 incidents
  • Aviation rescues:  13 people rescued in 8 incidents
  • Terrestrial PLB rescues:   38 person rescued in 26 incidents
  • WorldwideOver 30,000+ People Rescued  (since 1982)
  • United States – 6,907 People Rescued  (since 1982)

Total Rescues in Calendar Year 2011 in the United States: 207

  • Rescues at sea:  122 people rescued in 40 incidents
  • Aviation rescues:  14 people rescued in 6 incidents
  • PLB rescues:  71 people rescued in 42 incidents

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Five fishermen Rescued

Five fishermen were rescued from the mouth of the Mississippi River after their vessel struck a jetty. “Because of the EPIRB, we were able to vector-in right where they were located to the bar pilots,” said Lt. Cliff Beard, command duty officer for the 8th District. “An EPIRB provides our search-and-rescue coordinators with vital information such as phone numbers and the description and type of vessel, which allows us to effect a rescue much quicker.”

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New Fall 2012 ACR Promotions Announced

ACR has announced it’s new Fall 2012 promotions!  Purchase an EPIRB or PLB and get FREE cool gear!

EPIRB Promotion:  Get this free gear with the purchase of any ACR GlobalFix iPRO/PRO or Satellite3 (Cat 1 or Cat 2) EPIRB

  • Free 1 Year PLUS Subscription to (Our optional Satellite testing service) – $59.95 Value
  • Free RapidDitch Express Abandon Ship Bag – $69.99 Value
  • Free Firefly3 Waterbug Strobe Light – $99.99 Value

PLB Promotion: Get this free gear with the purchase of any ACR AquaLink, SARLink or ResQLink model PLB

  • Free 1 Year PLUS Subscription to (Our optional Satellite testing service) – $59.95 Value
  • Free Firefly3 Strobe Light – $69.99 Value

Learn More Here

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Air Station Kodiak Rescues 3 Fishermen

USCG Jayhawk

The brave crew of a USCG Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Kodiak

The crew of a USCG Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Kodiak rescued three fishermen after responding to an EPIRB signal 14 miles offshore. Prior to arriving on scene, there was no communication with the crew and the boat had already sunk. A 4th crew member is missing but thanks to the alert from the vessel’s EPIRB three men survived.

News Articles:

Alaska Dispatch
KMXT 100.1 FM Radio