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Missing yachties who issued Mayday calls found safe and well in Bay of Plenty

by Maritime NZ 6 Jan 18:34 NZDT 6 January 2020
Coastguard has been tasked to assist the two yachties who issued the Mayday calls © www.sunlive.co.nz

Two yachties have been found safe and well in the Bay of Plenty aboard their nine metre yacht this morning after sending out Mayday calls last night.

Strong offshore winds have been lashing the upper North Island for several days, and look set to continue for a day at least.

Maritime NZ’s Maritime Radio Service and Coastguard NZ received the first Mayday call at 8pm last night with a second call received shortly later.

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ took over the search coordination and dispatched a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3K-2 Orion from RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai at 11pm last night to search the Bay of Plenty area. The Orion was unable to locate the yachties.

The search resumed this morning with further information detailing the yacht’s departure from Whakatane, heading East towards the Cape yesterday afternoon. RCCNZ dispatched a Trustpower Rescue Helicopter was from Tauranga while two Coastguard NZ vessels were sent from Opotiki and Whakatane.

Whakatane’s local radio station Whakatane Double X Radio were broadcasting updates on the search when they received a call from a local woman who had sighted a yacht meeting the description of the missing yacht in Omaio Bay. They passed this information on to RCCNZ who were able to then direct the helicopter to the area which confirmed it was the missing yacht.

The two people onboard were found safe and well but it appeared they had trouble maintaining anchorage. The Coastguard NZ vessel from Opotiki was heading to Omaio Bay to assist them.

Neville Blackmore, Watch Leader for RCCNZ said that this was a good outcome and wanted to thank the coordinated efforts of the Trustpower Rescue Helicopter, Coastguard NZ, NZ Defence Force as well the local media and the public for helping to locate the yachties.

Maritime rescue services

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ operates 24/7, 365 days a year, coordinating off shore maritime and all aviation search and rescue missions in New Zealand’s 30 million square kilometre search and rescue region. It also coordinates land-based missions arising from anyone activating a distress beacon.

The Maritime Radio Service provides around-the-clock monitoring of the VHF, MF and HF distress channel, channel 16, within New Zealand’s coastal waters, and within the 50 million square kilometres of the South West Pacific known as “Navarea XIV”. It also broadcasts navigational safety and weather warnings.

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