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RCCNZ rescues sailor

24 NOVEMBER 2009
RCCNZ rescues sailor

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has successfully coordinated the rescue of a sailor who got into difficulty off the bottom of the South Island while attempting a solo-round-the-world voyage.

The Swiss skipper of the 52-foot yacht Horizons reported steering problems in rough conditions on Sunday evening. He was located around 800 kilometres west of Stewart Island. The yacht’s rudder had been damaged making it impossible to sail or motor the vessel.

In response, RCCNZ tasked an RNZAF Orion search aircraft to assess the situation and then diverted the cruise liner Seven Seas Mariner from its passage to Milford Sound.

The liner met Horizons around 8am today and successfully rescued the sailor from his crippled yacht.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue mission coordinator Dave Wilson said the rescue had been an international effort.

“The yacht was technically in Australian search and rescue waters, but was physically closer to New Zealand. We worked with the Australian search and rescue authorities to ensure we launched the best response.”

Mr Wilson said the skipper was in good health and spirits and is now on board the Seven Seas Mariner, en route to Milford Sound. The liner is due to arrive early tomorrow morning.

When Seven Seas Mariner departed the area, Horizons was still afloat 650 kilometres west of Stewart Island. As the abandoned yacht is a potential hazard to navigation, a warning has been issued by Australia.

Mr Wilson thanked the Master, officers and crew of the Seven Seas Mariner for a successful rescue conducted in difficult circumstances.

“The professionalism and skill displayed were instrumental in the rescue being successful.”

ENDS

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