Guam – The yacht “Pineapple” made contact Sunday and reported that all 5 crew members aboard are alive and well.
USCG Lt. JG Justin Valentino told PNC News Sunday afternoon that the yacht “self-reported.” Valentino said the the 38-foot catamaran is making its way “under its own power” to a port on the Philippine island of Cebu.
Lt. Valentino said a female passenger on board was able to use her cell phone to gain access to a Philippine cell phone provider and call her husband here on Guam. He said all 5 members of the crew are alive.
Commodore of the Marianas Yacht Club, Bob Bullock, told PNC News “We’re all really, really relieved and glad everyone is safe.”
Bullock said the call from the woman on board the “Pineapple” came into the husband from his wife Sunday morning. He got word they were found Sunday afternoon. The vessel was about 3 hours from landfall as of Sunday afternoon, he said.
Bullock said they had plenty of food and water and they’re all in good condition. He would not release the names of the people on board. The Coast Guard too has declined to name the members of the crew.
Bullock however confirmed that the “Pineapple” had lost its rudder. The sail boat had been purchased by a buyer in Cebu, he said, and was being delivered to the buyer there.
The “Pineapple” left the Marianas Yacht Club in Apra Harbor January 6th. It was expected to transit the 15-hundred miles to Cebu within 15 days and arrive no later than January 16th. When it did not, concerned family and friends contacted the Coast Guard and the search was launched.
Last Friday, Bullock said that the yacht had recently under gone some repairs on Guam and speculated that perhaps there might have been some “boat problems.” But, referring to the skipper, he said “I have every confidence in his ability to make the right decision.”
PNC News also contacted USCG Lt. JG Wade Thompson who said that the boat experienced “structural issues.”
The yacht had been officially classified as missing and a search was launched last Thursday.
A long-range fixed aircraft had been dispatched from the USCG Station on Barber’s Point in Hawaii. Another aircraft has flown in from Wake to help in the search. The Philippine Coast Guard was also called in to assist. And the Coast Guard has sent out emergency radio transmissions to ships transiting the area asking them to keep an eye out for the “Pineapple.”
The Coast Guard said in a release Thursday night that their search effort was hampered by the yachts lack of reliable long-range communications equipment. There was no satellite phone or emergency radio beacon aboard.