NZDF searches for NZ yacht in distress off Fiji

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion left Auckland this morning in search of a NZ yacht.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping search for a New Zealand-owned yacht with four people on board that activated its emergency beacon at dawn approximately 425 kilometres southeast of the Fijian capital of Suva.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft left Auckland this morning to search for the yacht and was expected to reach its estimated location before noon.

“We dispatched the Orion as soon as we received the request for assistance. Time is of the essence in situations like this. The Orion’s priority is to locate the vessel, ascertain the nature of its problem and provide assistance as required,” Air Commodore Webb said.

Crew members of the 18-metre yacht sent text messages to their relatives overnight to inform them that their vessel’s backstay was broken, affecting their ability to sail. The last text message was received from the yacht about 2am.

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