4 June 2019
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has found the Norwegian sailor who sent a distress signal after his vessel suffered a mechanical failure 2,800 kilometres east-northeast of New Zealand this morning.
Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft located the Norwegian sailor and his stricken 13-metre vessel SV Albatross shortly after arriving at the search area in the Pacific Ocean about 9am.
“The skipper was standing on the stern of his vessel waving his red jacket,” Air Commodore Walshe said.
The SV Albatross, which has suffered a mechanical failure, was buffeted by southwesterly swells of up to 3.5 metres and 20-knot winds, Air Commodore Walshe said.
The vessel left Opua in the Bay of Islands on 14 May for the 4100-kilometre journey to Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia.
“The Orion crew were able to establish communications with the skipper and he told them that he was safe and well but would like to evacuate from his sailboat,” Air Commodore Walshe said.
The Orion crew had contacted cargo ship MV Olga, which is 176 kilometres south-southeast of the stricken vessel, to help rescue the sailor. The cargo ship is expected to reach SV Albatross’ location by mid-afternoon.
The NZDF deployed the Orion before dawn this morning to help search for the Norwegian sailor, following a request from the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand.