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NZDF Orion Comes to Aid of Distressed Yacht

An RNZAF P-3K2 Orion aircraft has come to the aid of a distressed yacht.
An RNZAF P-3K2 Orion aircraft has come to the aid of a distressed yacht.

13 June 2016

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion aircraft has come to the aid of a distressed yacht that had been battered by heavy swells about 730 kilometres north of Auckland.

Acting Air Component Commander Group Captain (GPCAPT) Tim Walshe said the Orion was diverted to locate the stricken yacht PLATINO after it put out a distress call this morning. The aircraft had been conducting patrols in support of the Ministry for Primary Industries off the northern coast of New Zealand.

Aircrew from the RNZAF’s five Squadron said four of PLATINO’s five-member crew were on board when they found the boat around 12:30pm. The search for the man overboard is still ongoing.

“Strong winds and heavy swells had hit the yacht and smashed its boom. Fortunately, our Orion was already in the area so that greatly reduced the response time. The crew also found the yacht as soon as they reached the search area,” GPCAPT Walshe said.

Aircrew have contacted three vessels in the vicinity with a request to assist in the search for the missing man and support PLATINO’s four crewmembers. A second Orion is now on station conducting further searches for the missing man.

ENDS

Issued by Defence Public Affairs: 021 487 980

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