On January 6, 2002 at approximately 3:46 a.m., COMSAT Mobile Communications' Southbury, Conn. earth station received an Inmarsat-C "Man Overboard" distress call from Akademikis Zavarickis operating in the Pacific Ocean
off the coast of Equador. Responding to the call was COMSAT operator Joe Wheelahan, who contacted the ship on via an Inmarsat satellite
voice call and connected them with the U.S. Coast Guard's Rescue Coordination Center
in Norfolk, VA.
Norfolk subsequently passed the information onto RCC Ecuador. A little more than three hours later, the man overboard was located and was returned safely to the vessel. COMSAT mid shift operator Wheelahan's quick response contacting Akademikis Zavarickis via voice communications and then connecting the ship with coast guard's RCC in Norfolk, facilitated a successful rescue.