New Zealand Defence Force locate Polish yachter

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has found the yachtsman who activated his emergency beacon about 1600 km (1000 miles) east of the Chatham Islands.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the air component commander, said an Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft located the sailor, who was safe and well, on his yacht.

The yacht, which is equipped with a VHF radio and a life raft, is skippered by a 64-year-old Polish man on a solo round-the-world voyage. He left Auckland on 18 March and activated his distress beacon at about 15:00 hrs on 13 April.

“Our crew established communications with the skipper. He reported a problem with the vessel’s helm and appeared to be in good spirits,” Air Commodore Webb said. “It's always great to successfully conclude a search, especially so far from home and over the Easter break, which is a time for family and friends.”

Air Commodore Webb said the Orion crew had passed on the yacht’s position to MV Key Opus, a commercial ship in the area that the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) had asked to come to the yacht’s aid. The NZDF launched the search after a request from RCCNZ.

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