1 Jul 2009

Stricken NZ yachties used fishing line as radio aerial

7:13 pm on 1 July 2009

A family has been rescued from a stricken yacht by a French warship while en route from Tonga to New Zealand.

The two adults and six children from Auckland used an emergency beacon and a piece of fishing line to radio for help in the Pacific Ocean.

The yacht's mast broke and the rigging then became tangled under the rudder and keel, making it immobile.

RNZAF Wing Commander Darryn Webb says the family was rescued about 200 nautical miles north of New Zealand on Tuesday after they managed to manufacture an aerial for their satellite phone out of fishing line.

The Rescue Coordination Centre was alerted about 5pm on Tuesday. Spokesperson Christine Wilson says an Air Force Hercules was sent to watch over the yacht until the French ship La Glorieuse arrived.

Ms Wilson told Checkpoint the yacht was written off in the rough seas, but no one on board was injured.

The family is due to arrive in Auckland on Thursday.