Two people rescued from disabled yacht in the Pacific | Pacific Beat

Two people rescued from disabled yacht in the Pacific

Two people rescued from disabled yacht in the Pacific

Updated 11 November 2012, 12:05 AEDT

New Zealand authorities have co-ordinated the rescue of a couple whose yacht was adrift south-west of Tonga.

A 52-old British man Steve Jones and a 43-year-old New Zealand woman Tania Davis were both injured when their yacht Windigo was damaged two days ago.

Rough seas hampered efforts to reach the pair, but a New Zealand Air Force P3-Orion managed to direct a freighter, the Chengtu, to the location and its crew was able to complete the rescue.

Steve Rice has been speaking to Keith Allen, the duty search and rescue coordinator at the New Zealand Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, to find out more about the operation.

Presenter:Steve Rice

Speaker: Keith Allen the duty Search and Rescue Co-ordinator from the New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre

ALLEN: Yeah well about 9 o'clock this morning the crew of the Chengtu were able to use helicopter swings they had on board and ropes to fashion some gear which they threw to the people on board the yacht and were able to drag them safely up the side of the ship.

RICE: Ok and what sort of ship was the rescue vessel?

ALLEN: It's a fairly large ocean going freighter, it was on passage from Tonga to Los Angeles.

RICE: And how did it find the yacht?

ALLEN: They'd been spoken to early on the piece that actually diverted from their passage at our request, and they were guided into the yacht with the Air Force P3-Orion.

RICE: How did your organisation get involved in the search in the first place?

ALLEN: Right our organisation's responsible for the response to any emergency, locator beacon set off inside our search and rescue region, and of course this one was just on the border with us and Fiji, and Fiji quite happily agreed for us to coordinate it.

RICE: Do we know the route the yacht was taking, where it came from and where it was going?

ALLEN: Yeah he was coming from Vava'u in Tonga to the north island of New Zealand.

RICE: Have you got any reports on what actually happened to the yacht?

ALLEN: Yes as far as we understand is, that because of the heavy seas on Wednesday, when at that time they were ten metres and 40 to 50 knot winds, that the yacht was rolled. It sustained damage to windows and hatches, and that was allowing water in and of course in that roll and the high seas that was when the crew members were injured.

RICE: Now I believe there was a man and a woman on board, how did they survive through the storm?

ALLEN: Well once they'd been rolled, they actually secured themselves into the cabin so that they wouldn't be washed away and just settled down and waited for the rescue to continue.

RICE: So they must have triggered a search beacon?

ALLEN: Yes they triggered their emergency beacon and because it was in our area that was sent to us and we mounted the response to that, the initial response was to send the New Zealand Air Force P3-Orion up to the area, that tracked that beacon, and was able to make radio contact with the people on the yacht.

RICE: So what happens now? What's the next phase of the operation?

ALLEN: Well the Chengtu that picked the people up, that's turned and headed back towards New Zealand, and later on this evening that will rendezvous with the New Zealand navy ship the Otago, and a transfer will be made and the Otago will then bring the people back to New Zealand.

RICE: Ok, do we know about the condition of the people?

ALLEN: Yeah when they got on board they were obviously still in a bit of shock, they were a bit frightened, but they had cuts to their heads and the male had a minor sort of back injury.

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