Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Severe weather hampers rescue of stricken yacht

Severe weather hampers rescue of stricken yacht

Shortly after 1800 hours last night, Coastguard Radio was advised of a distress call from two men on board a 12m sailing vessel in difficulty off the Northland coast. Their location was given as approximately 10-15 nautical miles east of the Whangarei Harbour entrance, with the pair unable to reach the safety of the port due to large seas knocking the vessel down.


Conditions at the time were recorded as winds gusting over 40 knots off Tutukaka, with the sea state just short of 6 metres, showers and poor visibility.

Coastguard volunteers on board Tutukaka Rescue were tasked to locate the vessel, further confirm their location and provide better detail on the next course of action based on the weather conditions.

At 1930 hours Tutukaka Rescue departed and made for the last known location of the yacht. 30 minutes later the yacht was located 4.5nm NE of Taiharuru Head having headed further out to sea and experiencing problems with their compass and electronic navigation equipment. The Coastguard Rescue Vessel provided them with a head to to take them towards Bream Head and with the Coastguard volunteers able to ascertain that the men on board the yacht were shaken but otherwise in good spirits, the decision was made for the rescue vessel to depart the scene given the conditions, with Coastguard Radio continuing to monitor the yachts progress.

Shortly after, Coastguard Whangarei’s CIRCA Rescue was tasked from Marsden Cove Marina, to check if the sea state was more favourable from there for a rescue. The crew on board advised that the Northport Wave Buoy was reporting maximum wave heights of around 5m and would progress as far as Busby Head then reassess the conditions. 30 minutes into their trip the crew of the rescue vessel advised Coastguard Radio that they were unable to continue due to the height of the seas and lack of visibility, they returned to Marsden Cove to remain on standby.

The distressed yacht was advised of the situation and requested to change their heading so that they were facing into the oncoming sea and heading off shore. Given the vessel was now running low on diesel and had also run out of drinking water, Coastguard Radio advised that once they had reached a safe distance from shore, to cut their engine to preserve fuel and lay a sea anchore for the night. Regular contact was maintained and shortly before midnight the yacht advised that their hydraulic steering had jammed and they were no longer able to maintain course.

With the situation worsening for the two on board, the need for a more immediate rescue was made clear and options for an air rescue investigated. A request was made for the vessel to set of their EPIRB to provide a more accurate position however this was hampered as from between midnight and 0030 hours this morning, communication with the vessel was believed to be lost with no response from the vessel when contacted.

With communications re-established around 0100 hours this morning, a new location was given, now placing them only 0.5nm off shore from Kauri Mountain, northern end of Ocean Beach. With the location uncertainty, EPRIB activation was requested and an EPIRB signal received by RCCNZ, but no location advice. The yacht advised they felt dangerously close to shore, activated another Personal Locator Beacon and inflated their lifejackets.

Shortly after 0200 hours HELIMED1 departed Whangarei for the assumed position of the Yacht however this attempt was again hindered due to weather and lack of ambient light making the night visibility ineffective. The Yacht was advised that the safest course of action was to head as far off shore as possible, deploy a sea anchor and main anchor and wait for daylight.

“In situations like this, the safety of everyone involved is carefully assessed,” says Coastguard Operations Manager Ray Burge. “We have to make sure that everyone – the two people on the yacht and our volunteers, are going to get home safely and last night the conditions were so severe, that this was an unlikely outcome".

“Our Radio Operators have been vigilantly monitoring conditions overnight and been in communication with the yachties as much as possible to assess the situation on board and provide guidance and reassurance.”

As of first light this morning, sea conditions have been reassessed and CIRCA Rescue redeployed to attempt to reach the yacht with additional diesel and water for the vessel however with seas still reaching up to 4 metres and winds of 40 knots the latest attempt to reach the yacht has been called off with CIRCA Rescue returning to port. Strong contact with the vessel is being kept with Coastguard Radio from the Regional Operations Centre in Auckland with Duty Officer Nico Dooderman reporting that both on board the yacht are safe and whilst its been a long night given the circumstances are well. The yacht will continue to circle out at sea until conditions are reassessed this afternoon. A rescue helicopter continues to be on standby should the situation arrise where the two people are required to abandon the vessel.

"These are frustrating circumstances as our volunteers train incredibly hard provide the countries primary marine search and rescue operation and it's with the communities support that we are able to equip our rescue vessels with the best equipment to do the job but the weather conditions are such that a rescue attempt of both the people and the vessel at this stage is simply too dangerous.

The safety of our people and those we are rescuing is paramount, at this stage both onboard aren't in immediate danger but understandably exhausted and ready to get into calm waters. We're hopeful that conditions will calm this afternoon to make this possible or a decision will be made around an air rescue", says Mr Burge. "The incident has now been underway for over 14 hours, I take my hat off to the volunteers that have given it their all and our SAR Partners working alongside us for the best outcome".

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

 

NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>

Earlier:

Donations:

Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>

ALSO:

Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>

ALSO:

Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels