Damaged British yacht found

2012-11-25 09:11

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Wellington - A New Zealand Air Force plane heading to the central Pacific to search for three missing Kiribati fisherman has found a damaged British yacht in a remote area of the ocean, officials said on Sunday.

Fears had been held for the sole sailor on the 38-foot British catamaran Troutbridge after he lost contact with an accompanying yacht in a storm on Thursday night after they set sail from Fiji.

The New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre said the yacht was found by a New Zealand Air Force Orion which left Auckland early on Sunday to begin an unrelated search for three Kiribati fishermen.

The aircraft made radio contact with the skipper, whose name has not been released, who reported the catamaran had sustained hull and rig damage and was leaking.

However, the pumps were working effectively and he was proceeding to New Caledonia on a voyage that could take up to a week.

"It's a great outcome to establish contact with the skipper of the Troutbridge," search co-ordinator Mike Roberts said.

"Now we're also hoping for a positive result in the search for the fishermen off Kiribati."

The three fishermen on board a six-metre vessel are three days overdue.

In September, a 41-year-old Kiribati man was found alive after drifting for 15 weeks and surviving on fish and rainwater.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  maritime
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