Injured pair rescued from stranded yacht
The mother of a New Zealand woman rescued from a stricken yacht in the Pacific this morning says the good news "feels fantastic".
Aucklander Tania Davies, 43 and Australia-based Briton Steve Jones, 52, had become stranded 1260km from New Zealand after their yacht Windigo was rolled in 10m seas 600km off Tonga on Wednesday evening.
They were pulled aboard the container ship Chengtu today, after continued rough weather delayed the rescue effort.
"They were thrown heaving lines, big thick ropes, and then winched aboard the Chengtu," said Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Keith Allen.
The container ship will now head South to meet the New Zealand Navy vessel HMNZS Otago where the pair will be treated for their injuries.
Both crew aboard the Windigo sustained mild to moderate head injuries after their 11.6m yacht rolled two days ago 700km southwest of Tonga. Jones has also suffered a back injury. None of the injuries were believed to be serious.
The two families were relieved and excited to know the rescue was a success.
"It feels fantastic. The is no other word for it. I am looking forward to a phone shortly after they have a hot cup of tea and a shower," said Davies' mother, Annette Bayly.
"She is a girl that likes a bit of an adventure but she has never found herself in a situation like this before," she said.
Davies' father said he will never again question the money spent on rescuing boats.
"I've often said to myself why do waste time picking up these boaties in trouble, but I have absolutely changed my mind after the effort they have gone to, to rescue my daughter," said Martin Davies.
In the UK, Jones' family was spreading the news around friends and family.
"It is absolutely fantastic news, we are just getting the message around to everyone now," said Dave Llyod, Jones' brother in law.
"Steve is a very strong character and we all knew he could cope with whatever was thrown at him. But we were all very worried when we heard the boat had turned upside down," he said.
The yacht was located by an New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion early yesterday morning and its position had been monitored by the French government from Noumea.
Search and Rescue praised the cooperation involved in the rescue.
"We have had tremendous response from defense forces. The navy came forward very quickly to offer the services of the Otago. These operations can't be run without such a response," said Allen.
The families of the rescued pair also had high praise for the rescue effort.
"Everyone of those guys would had a weekend planned and they have just given up their weekend to go and rescue Tania and Steve," Bayly said.
"I can't believe how much help we have received. The coastguard in New Zealand have been absolutely brilliant," Lloyd said.
The container ship and another yacht had been standing by overnight, maintaining contact with the Windigo, while swells and high winds made a rescue effort too dangerous. The Chengtu arrived at the yacht's position at around 3.40am and the yacht Adventure Bound has also been on the scene overnight.
"I would also like to express my appreciation to the captain of the Chengtu and the crew of the Adventure Bound for their efforts," Allen said.
It will be at least another two days before the HMNZS Otago arrives back in New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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