The search for a missing round-the-world sailor has continued nearly two months after he was last seen in New Zealand.
Swiss yachtsman Peter Baggenstos, aged 80, vanished in the middle of the Tasman Sea after his vessel’s AIS transponder stopped transmitting.
He was last heard of about 140 kilometres (87 miles) off Tasmania’s east coast on 5th December 2022.
He was reportedly last seen in the city of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, before he hopped on board his 13-metre (43 feet) yacht ‘Lady Lay’ and disappeared on the way to New Zealand on 1st December 2022.
Baggenstos – who previously sailed around the world alone – faced death when his vessel rolled over in the Great Australian Bight during huge swells while he was completing his second trip around the world in 2019.
He then appeared nine days later in Port Lincoln, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Australia, after sailing with a broken boom as he had lost all of his yacht’s electronics, battery and engine power.
At the time he said: “It was one or two metres of blue water and white water and I saw it coming over the boat, and I was holding on to the steering and just holding on and kneeling down and I had to let the water go through me and over me and over the boat for almost one minute…
“Some cruel waves were coming with teeth open and mouth open and trying to get me again but I was lucky — just got wet.”
Tasmania Police said they have serious concerns for the yachtsman’s welfare in a statement issued on Thursday, 26th January 2023.
They claimed that weather conditions at the time he disappeared were poor.
The statement obtained by Newsflash said: “Mr Baggenstos’ family in Switzerland subsequently reported the situation to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) who conducted large scale search operations in the Tasman Sea.
“Neither Mr Baggenstos nor the yacht were located, and New Zealand authorities reported no record of him entering its jurisdiction.”
Baggenstos’ yacht was reportedly was fitted with safety equipment including life belts, life raft, GPS unit, EPIRB and AIS transponder.
Sergeant John Delpero of Tasmania Police Missing Persons Unit said: “Given the circumstances, we have serious concerns for Mr Baggenstos’ welfare.
“Tasmania Police has now assumed management of the investigation which to date has included enquiries with AMSA, interstate and overseas law enforcement agencies, and Mr Baggenstos’ family through Interpol.
“Enquiries are continuing.
“I would absolutely expect and understand that [his family] would be under a lot of stress at the moment, they would understandably have a lot of questions.
“They deserve answers and what we’ll aim to do as part of the investigation is bring them some answers.”
Delpero claimed that marines have covered more than 170,000 square nautical miles in the Tasman Sea looking for Baggenstos so far.
Anyone with information concerning the missing sailor was urged to contact Australia’s most trusted information receiving service Crimestoppers online or via email.