East Coast Rescue: Missing yacht found

The 22-foot yacht Luna missing off the east coast of the North Island has been found by a Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said the helicopter found Luna at about 2:40pm 16km south of Cape Runaway.

Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts said there is still no communication with the yacht but the helicopter made close passes and the yacht appears undamaged and the skipper unharmed.

Mr Roberts said the helicopter is refueling at Whakatane and will then return to Ohakea.

“Thankfully, the worst weather is now behind Luna and she should be in comfortable sailing conditions,” he said.

“We are glad for the outcome and we will always do what we can when a vessel is missing or in danger but this has been a frustrating endeavour.

“The skipper is inexperienced, left a vague trip plan, and seems to have had no working communications equipment since Friday last week. Even when two search aircraft located him he was unable to communicate his intentions or report on his condition.”

“We want boaties to always leave a detailed trip plan with family, a friend or a boating organisation, and to take at least two forms of communications that will work when wet. A registered distress beacon is also highly recommended for all boats”.

“If we don’t know where you are going and you cannot call, then you cannot be rescued if you get into trouble.”

More information about boating communications equipment is on the Maritime NZ website at
http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/recreational/safety/communications/

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