Man is reunited with his cat after their yacht sinks

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Grant McDonald and his cat Major Tom with the captain of the Shi Dai 8, Tang Jianbing. Photos via Australian Maritime Safety Authority


A man and his cat lost their home when their yacht sunk Friday and the pair were reunited thanks to help from the maritime authority and a nearby ship.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority – AMSA told of Major Tom’s rescue and how he was reunited with his petdad, writing at Facebook: AMSA is very pleased to report that Grant McDonald, who was rescued off the West Australian coast on Friday, has now been reunited with his cat Major Tom.

Mr McDonald set off his emergency beacon after his yacht began taking on water south of Steep Point, about 277 kilometres north of Geraldton. AMSA asked the bulk carrier Shi Dai 8 to divert to the area where they rescued Mr McDonald and Major Tom from a life raft.

On Saturday Mr McDonald was transferred by helicopter to Geraldton for medical treatment, but unfortunately Major Tom was unable to accompany him on the flight.

The Shi Dai 8 arrived at Geraldton Port this morning where Mr McDonald attended the ship to collect Major Tom and thanked Captain Tang Jianbing and the crew for their help in his rescue.

AMSA also wishes to extend its thanks to Captain Jianbing and the crew of the Shi Dai 8 for their assistance in this rescue and to the ships agent SeaCorp for organising the safe return of Major Tom.

According to story on ABC News today, Grant says Major Tom alerted him to the onboard emergency by headbutting him at 5am last Friday as the yacht began taking on water.

Grant told ABC: “He kept head-butting me and got me up, and eventually after checking the wind and doing the normal course check I noticed the bow heavy, heavy in the water … the whole boat was flooded.

“It was too dark and too dangerous to enter and try and find a leak.

“I had to make the quick decision to get the cat and get on the life raft as quickly as possible.”

“[When the Shi Dai 8 arrived hours later and the rescue commenced] We lifted Major Tom up on a rope, there was massive swells and I had to grab onto the rope ladder and hope for the best, and then the life raft disappeared 10 metres underneath me and I managed to climb seven metres to the gantry.” he said.

“I actually thought I was going to die.

“If I hadn’t been rescued when I had, within four or five hours I would’ve been washed up on shore and killed, so I was very, very lucky.”

Grant was taken to hospital in Geraldton, where he was treated for dehydration and heart arrhythmia. He attributes the heart issue to the stress and shock of the incident.

Grant lived on the boat for the past six years and has now lost everything, including his home and all his clothes, except what he was wearing at the time. The recovery operation to salvage the Osprey would have been so coasly as not to be worth the expense, so now he and Major Tom will have to adjust to living onshore, at least for a while.

Grant is grateful to Major Tom and very happy to be renited with his best friend.

Major Tom is reunited with his owner Mr McDonald by Captain Tang Jiangbing.


Major Tom the cat is hoisted on board the bulk carrier Shi Dai 8 while the crew manoeuvre the life raft to bring his owner Grant McDonald on board.


SeaCorp agent Ian Dempsey (left) with Grant McDonald and Major Tom (centre) and Captain Tang Jianbing on board the Shi Dai 8.

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