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NZDF Finds NZ Yacht in Distress off Fiji

23 June 2017

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has found the New Zealand-owned yacht that made a distress call at dawn off the coast of Fiji.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft spotted the yacht SV Jungle beached on the reef at Tuvana-I-Ra atoll approximately 425 kilometres southeast of the Fijian capital of Suva.

“The yacht’s four crewmembers had abandoned the yacht and are safe and well on the atoll,” Air Commodore Webb said.

“They used the yacht’s radio to establish communications with the Orion crew.”

Air Commodore Webb said the Orion’s crew were now trying to contact other vessels nearby to rescue the four yachtsmen.

“We are delighted with the successful outcome of this search and rescue operation. Well done to all those involved.”

There are three locals living on the atoll, and there are no vessels expected to visit the area in the next seven days.

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 around 2am.

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