Rescues are risky to the rescuers. The death of the CG rescue
swimmer during the "Perfect Storm" is an example.
It is one thing to ask rescuers to risk their lives when it is known that there are lives to be saved. Another when that likelihood is vanishingly small -- as in this case.
The boat was located. No one could be alive in the hull
The ship did not see a liferaft
(and I'm sure there was a concerted air search in that location). Someone in a liferaft could operate a PLB with homing signal whose batteries were still within the 24 hour life since the capsize
. Or flares. Or a handheld VHF
. All of which would have been on the raft.
A swimmer would not survive long in those cold waters without a survival suit. The boats owners would have informed the CG if there were survival suits aboard (seems unlikely for a 40ft racing
A boat that loses it's keel rolls instantly. There would be no time to get a liferaft or survival suits out. Most likely the liferaft was in the cabin
. If not, perhaps tied behind the mast
. It would have been inaccessible in either place once the boat rolled in large waves. They would not have pre-deployed the life raft and towed it while trying to get to the Azores
as they had radioed).
Some crew apprarently ended up in the water
and were able to activate their PLB's - thus the two signals. The EPIRB
is likely in its bracket inside the over turned boat. The fact that an EPIRB
has a 48 hour battery
doesn't do much good if it's inside the boat.
We don't know that this is what happened but it fits the evidence and reasonable behavior for a highly experienced crew.
The tragic question is how did a fairly new production boat - that was presumably expertly maintained for the stresses of racing - lose its keel in open water?