UK & World News

  • 9 November 2012, 6:58

Injured Briton Rescued From Stricken Yacht

A British man and a New Zealand woman have been rescued from their damaged yacht after two nights stuck on the leaking vessel in rough seas off Tonga.

Steve Jones and Tania Davies hit trouble when huge waves rolled their 11.6m (38-ft) yacht late Wednesday about 700km (435 miles) southwest of the Pacific island.

Hong Kong cargo ship Chengtu managed to reach the yacht early on Friday and was able to lower lines to the pair and haul them to safety.

During their ordeal, Australia-based Mr Jones, 52, suffered a head gash and back injury while Ms Davies, 43, also knocked her head.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said a patrol boat was on its way to pick up the pair from the freighter.

Maritime New Zealand spokesman Steve Rendle said the pair were in good health.

The pair's yacht, named Windigo, righted itself after being damaged, but before the rescue it was taking on water as Mr Jones and Ms Davies clung to the vessel.

Three boats were sent to help the pair, who are also monitored by the New Zealand Air Force.

The cargo ship and a yacht, Adventure Bound, reached the stricken yacht during the early hours of Friday morning local time (Thursday evening GMT), but initially the conditions were too treacherous to carry out a rescue.

A navy patrol vessel, HMNZS Otago, which was taken off exercises in the Hauraki Gulf to attend the scene.

A New Zealand Air Force plane, which initially established contact with the pair on Wednesday morning - about six hours after their emergency beacon was activated - was stationed above the yacht overnight before the two other vessels reached it.

The air force P-3 Orion earlier dropped a life raft but it was deemed safer for the man and woman to remain on the yacht because of the bad sea and weather conditions. They secured themselves in the stern section.

A French navy aircraft was also involved in monitoring the yacht.

The pair left Tonga on Monday.

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