17 Jun 2016

Body being retrieved from abandoned yacht

5:53 pm on 17 June 2016

A tugboat towing the stricken yacht Platino is on its way back to New Zealand, carrying the body of the man who died on board on Monday.

SV Platino pictured about 255km north of New Zealand.

SV Platino pictured about 255km north of New Zealand. Photo: Supplied

Auckland boat builder Nick Saull was hit by rigging and killed when the Platino got into trouble in rough seas between Fiji and New Zealand on Monday.

Another crew member - whom police have named as Devonport man Steve Forno, 63 - remains lost at sea, while three survivors were rescued by a container ship and are safely back in Auckland.

The tugboat, Sea Pelican, left Whangarei late on Tuesday night and its owner said it reached the Platino this morning. The return journey was expected to take two to three days.

Police said the yacht and Mr Saull's body would be back in New Zealand early next week.

The surviving trio of the stricken yacht Platino is safely back in New Zealand and heaping praise on the crew of their rescuers.

Survivors were rescued from the stricken yacht by container ship Southern Lily. Photo: SUPPLIED / Southern Lily

The surviving trio heaped praise on their rescuers after arriving in Auckland early yesterday morning.

Harry and Tory McKeogh and Ross McKee were picked up by container ship Southern Lily on Tuesday after high winds and rough seas swamped their yacht 550km north of New Zealand, on its way back from Fiji.

The trio arrived in Auckland in the early hours of this morning, and Mrs McKeogh has issued a statement thanking the rescuers and crew members of the Southern Lily.

A copy of the handwritten statement penned by Platino survivor Tory McKeogh.

A copy of the handwritten statement penned by Platino survivor Tory McKeogh. Photo: SUPPLIED