The New Zealand Defence Force has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft to search for a New Zealand yacht that activated its emergency beacon early this morning about 166 kilometres east of Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean.
18 November 2017
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping search for a New Zealand yacht that activated its emergency beacon early this morning about 166 kilometres east of Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean.
Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft deployed from Auckland this morning to search for the yacht Waimanu. The Hercules is expected to reach the yacht’s position around midday.
“The priority is to locate the yacht, establish communications with the skipper and provide assistance if required,” Air Commodore Webb said.
“The initial report we received indicates that there is only one person on board. The conditions in the area are a bit unpleasant with southerly winds of 30 knots and swells of up to 3 metres.”
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) requested NZDF support to locate the yacht after it activated its distress beacon early this morning. Norfolk is a small island in the Pacific Ocean about 1000 kilometres north of New Zealand.
Air Commodore Webb said RCCNZ had also contacted a commercial vessel in the area, MV Norfolk Guardian, to help. The commercial vessel is expected to reach the yacht early this afternoon.
The NZDF flew 234 hours on 19 search and rescue missions in New Zealand and the Pacific in 2016, up 59 per cent from the 147 flying hours recorded the previous year. Since January, it has flown more than 80 hours on seven search and rescue missions. Its last search and rescue operation, on October 18, involved three Kiribati fishermen who had been missing for four days in the Pacific Ocean.