7 Aug 2013

Sailors rescued off American Samoa after two incidents in a week

1:28 pm on 7 August 2013

An Austrian couple have been rescued off the coast of American Samoa by a fishing boat, a week after another vessel had responded to a separate distress call.

The New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre contacted a nearby boat last night when the couple reported they could no longer steer the yacht.

It follows an incident last Wednesday when a more remote Canadian yacht made a trip to help them repair their boat.

The two are being taken to Pago Pago, and their yacht remains drifting.

The search and rescue mission coordinator, Mike Roberts, says the sailors' satellite phone was invaluable.

"We were able to talk to him directly to find out how things were on board and what their situation was. Because we had good communication with the yacht we were also able to offer him ideas about how he may be able to improve his own situation. Yachtsmen, especially single-handed or small crews, get very tired and judgment starts to fade on some occasions."

Mike Roberts from the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre.