Person rescued from sea 15 nautical miles east of Tolaga Bay, near Gisborne

6 March 2019
a yacht at sea
Maritime NZ ©2019
Rescued yacht being escorted back to Gisborne

A man who went overboard from his yacht earlier today was fortunate to be rescued before nightfall. The Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) began a search and rescue operation at 2.04 pm today after receiving a MAYDAY call from the yacht.

RCCNZ Senior Search and Rescue Coordinator Chris Henshaw said, “Maritime Radio asked the remaining person on the yacht to activate their emergency beacon so we could establish their position. Two beacons were activated at 2.14pm.”

RCCNZ tasked a number of search and rescue aircraft and vessels: the Hastings based Hawkes Bay Rescue helicopter, the Gisborne based Coastguard, two fixed-wing aircraft and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3k2 Orion. Commercial vessels also responded to the mayday call. Some were up to 2 and a half hours away.

The man was located and rescued by the Hawke's Bay rescue helicopter.

They located him in the water and used a rescue swimmer to get him onboard the helicopter.

The Coastguard vessel Gisborne Lion Foundation Rescue is currently escorting the yacht to Gisborne.

“Most accidents occur suddenly with no warning. Lifejackets are essential for all recreational activities on the water. It was fortunate the yacht had both a vhf radio and emergency beacons (two) to raise the alert. Without appropriate communications devices and beacons it may have turned out differently,” said Mr Henshaw.

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