Rescue under way for two people adrift in life raft

13 June 2005, 9:45pm

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand is managing the rescue of two Swedish crewmembers who evacuated to their life raft after their yacht, Ciru, capsized tonight, 780 kilometres south of Fiji.

Rescue Coordination Centre mission controller Geoff Lunt says the yacht had lost its mast, the engine room had flooded with water, and the couple were without an emergency distress beacon. They are also suffering some injuries, which they didn't explain.

"They are adrift in the same atrocious weather which has caught three other yachts out in as many days. They'll be battling gale-force winds and about six metre swells. Clearly, it'll be very unpleasant for them, and we're doing everything we can to rescue them as soon as we possibly can," he said.

The couple left Whangarei for Suva on 2 June. No other information is available about the couple. An Airforce Orion is expected to reach the area to attempt to locate them, at midnight tonight.

The crew were able to alert the Maritime Safety Authority communications centre of their distress by radio at 7:15pm, before abandoning their yacht.

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