Saturday, August 17, 2013

Equusearch Uses High Tech In Nina Sailboat Rescue, Tomnod


The first day I talked to Ralph Baird from Texas Equusearch about finding the crew of the Niña, a 1928 schooner that is lost in the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia, Baird made some pretty big claims.

Kyle Jackson

"By the end of this search we will make some improvements in the way search and rescue is done at sea."

I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but trust me, I had lots of doubts.  How could a private search provider do more than the rescue authorities?  The government has the assets and the government has access to military technology most of us only about.  I figured, the proof is in the pudding.  Maybe I should stick around and see.

Within a few days, it became clear Baird was not bragging.  One of the biggest things TES has going for it is a new attitude.  They think they can do it, something that hearkens to TES Founder, Tim Miller. More than that, though, TES combines a positive attitude with high tech devices, lots of thinking and they have the results to prove it.

In the  Niña case, TES is tasking a satellite to take photos of the Tasman Sea.  This is not your Google Earth, though some of the same contractors are involved.  This is special high resolution imagery to peer over thousands of miles looking for a 57 foot needle in the haystack, or maybe better said, needle in the white caps.

Kyle Jackson


TES is working with a company called Tomnod which does crowd sourcing.  The theory is, the human eye can be very selective when choosing targets.  When a lot of human eyes are looking for targets, even when they are not experts in SAR technology, usually the crowd is right.

Will it work in the case of search at sea?  Already, there are some impressive results.  This is the kind of thing SAR organizations can take advantage of in the future to operate more smoothly and to save lives at sea.

TES says if you start looking at Tomnod you might be the person who finds the Niña.  When you do, it is the kind of new information that makes hero's out people fast.  It is also the kind of information that may give the authorities in the New Zealand search and rescue authority, called the RCC-NZ, a reason to send their Orion planes out to save the lives of the Nina 7.


Houston, Texas.  A press conference has been announced for the Niña  7 by Texas Equusearch. The organization which specializes in finding people which law enforcement is not able to find says the event will be attended by the families from the missing sailboat.  It will also be attended by John Glennie, a sailor who spent 118 days on his overturned catamaran after the New Zealand government gave up their search efforts.  Rather than getting credit for rescuing the sailors, the four men had to save themselves.

The event will be held at South Sore Harbor Marina Resort, Legue City, Texas on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.

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