Couple plucked off yacht in South Pacific

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 13:13 06/08/2014

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A Swedish couple has been rescued off a dismasted yacht in the South Pacific.

New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) said the 11.2 metre Swedish flagged Blue Horizon was dismasted 231 kilometres north east of the Cook Islands.

The 69-year-old woman and 70-year-old man on board activated an emergency location beacon alarm at 5.15 pm yesterday and then used a satellite phone to call the Swedish Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Stockholm.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller Neville Blakemore said they were worried the broken mast would puncture the hull.

With New Zealand coordinating the rescue, a French Navy aircraft was dispatched from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Tahiti to find the yacht.

The nearest vessel to the boat was a tanker which was 10 hours away.

"The tanker was diverted to rescue the couple and they were successfully taken aboard, uninjured, at round nine this morning," he said.

The tanker was taking the couple to Tahiti and the yacht was abandoned.

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