18 Nov 2017

Second yacht rescue op in 24 hours

9:58 pm on 18 November 2017

A rescue operation is under way for a second yacht in distress north of New Zealand.

A Defence Force Hercules aircraft and a commercial fishing boat were called into help search for the man after he activated a distress beacon at 6:15am.

Photo: Supplied to RNZ

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said the centre was in contact with a Norwegian yachtsman whose damaged yacht, Ilanga, is in 50 knot winds (90kmh) and very heavy seas.

The yachtsman is the only person on board and activated his emergency beacon at 4.14pm on Saturday.

Senior Search and Rescue Officer Mike Roberts said Ilanga has damaged sails and rigging and a broken window, and had taken on some water but was not in danger of sinking. There has also been a fire in an electrical panel.

Ilanga is 140 nautical miles - 260km - northeast of Cape Brett.

RCCNZ has diverted a merchant ship, MV Southern Lily, to come to Ilanga's aid. Southern Lily is due to meet the yacht at about midday tomorrow. Mayday calls are continuing to be relayed in case another ship might be closer.

A New Zealand Defence Force P-3K2 Orion flew over Ilanga this evening and will return tomorrow to help Southern Lily rendezvous with her.

Earlier today RCCNZ coordinated the rescue of a Kiwi yachtsman who had to abandon his yacht, Waimanu, 90 nautical miles east of Norfolk Island.

In that case, a defence force C-130 Hercules circled over the location of the life raft while a cargo ship, Norfolk Guardian, was diverted to the location.

The Kiwi yachtsman is now on board Norfolk Guardian and due to arrive at Norfolk Island on Saturday.