Four sailors rescued

Press Release – Maritime New Zealand

Media Release: Four sailors rescued after activating stricken yacht’s emergency beacon

16 June 2019
Four sailors have been rescued from their life raft this afternoon having had to abandon their yacht ‘the Squander’ 90 kilometres East North East of Great Barrier Island.

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) was monitoring the yacht’s situation, having earlier received communication via satellite phone that the yacht had sustained rigging damage while trying to reach Tonga, and was returning to NZ.

At 9.30am this morning RCCNZ then received a a distress alert from its Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The four crew had had to abandon their yacht into their life raft.

A Maersk container ship in the area was able to get near the stricken yachties but was unable to effect the rescue. Two Auckland Westpac Rescue helicopters were then assigned to uplift the crew from their life raft and successfully winched them from their life raft at 12.30pm this afternoon. The crew were flown back to Auckland.

Mike Hill, RCCNZ Manager said “this rescue highlights just how important it is to carry the appropriate emergency communications equipment. If you can’t make contact, no one will know you need to be rescued.”

“Maritime NZ advises all boaties to carry at least two types of reliable emergency communications that will work when wet.”

“This crew were well equipped for the specific journey they were undertaking and had a distress beacon, satellite phone, HF radio and VHF radio. As a result, they had the right communications device for their location and were able to let us quickly know when they needed RCCNZ’s assistance.”

“We also advise boaties to register their EPIRBs. Registration is free and can result in a more efficient search and rescue effort,” he said.

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