The TAR BABY II (WN10-0006-06)
22 June 2010
The crew of an Air Force Orion aircraft from No 5 Squadron successfully located a yacht after a distress beacon alert was received by the NZ Rescue Coordination Centre (NZRCC).
The Orion crew launched from Auckland Air Force Base during the early hours of this morning and arrived on station just before 10am.
The crew found the vessel on its first pass of the search area some 75 nautical miles from Niue. The yacht TAR BABY II, a 12m sloop was adrift and had lost its mast.
The two people on board were both alive and well.
After locating the TAR BABY II the Orion crew advised the NZRCC who have directed a fishing vessel into the area to assist . The Orion crew, after refuelling in Niue, returned to maintain overwatch of the stricken vessel until the rescue vessel was expect to arrive - around now.
"This is a text book search and rescue , where appropriately prepared and equipped mariners have activated emergency equipment after getting into a predicament beyond their control, and SAR assets (in this case an RNZAF Orion) have been able to respond quickly and efficiently.
"It highlights the benefits of being appropriately equipped, as the aircraft was able to transit directly to the satellite pinpointed distress location, and utilising on board sensors was able to localise the yacht within minutes. The sensors on the P-3K Orion (and the soon to arrive upgraded P-3K2 Orion) are optimised for this type of search," said Wing Commander Nick Olney, Commanding Officer of No 5 Squadron, RNZAF.