Plane parachutes kai to kayaker

08:56, Jun 20 2014

Stricken Tasman Sea kayaker Scott Donaldson has received emergency food and water supplies by parachute.

Helicopter Services BOP chief pilot John Funnell dropped three small container loads of water and freeze-dried food to Donaldson today.

Donaldson, 43, is attempting to become the first person to kayak the Tasman Sea solo, but has been running very low on food and water after encountering technical problems, about 560km off the Taranaki Coast.

Funnell made a six-hour round trip in a Piper Comanche today. 

Although there was a five-metre swell, Donaldson was able to reach the three containers. One of them split and some water was lost, Funnell told Radio NZ.

The food should be enough to last another month.


At this point, his rescue pilot will be footing the $2000 bill for the food drop.

Donaldson's wife Sarah requested Funnell's assistance but said she was not able to pay for it.

"Someone had to do something", Funnell said.

He said Donaldson had not been working for the past two months and had been "light on sponsorship."

Funnell hoped to offset the mission's cost by selling photographs of the rescue to news media.

Back Country Cuisine in Invercargill had donated the food free of charge.

He had undertaken practice drops over the past three to four days. "We've done rescues before but haven't for a while, so we just wanted to hone our skills and make sure we accurately place the load in front of him [Donaldson]".

Funnell was joined by Donaldson's wife packing the containers in Taupo yesterday.

He said she described her husband as being physically fit and having a strong mindset.

Donaldson was sailing from Coff's Harbour, New South Wales to New Zealand on behalf of the Asthma Foundation to raise awareness for the need for physical activity.