Missing vessel found near Bream Bay

A number of organisations, including the TECT Rescue Helicopter in Tauranga, assisted in the search. Image: PRHT

A yacht reported missing off the Coromandel coast on Wednesday was located 150km from where it made its mayday call.

Sinking yacht Tribe broadcast a mayday call on Wednesday evening.

Two rescue helicopters, a Coastguard vessel and the Te Kaha were deployed by the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ after a sinking yacht made a mayday call at 6.30pm last night.

The vessel's coordinates were given as near Waiheke, but verbally the yacht’s location was given as ‘east of Coromandel’.

An initial search failed to find the yacht at the coordinates given.

A search for the vessel continued on Thursday, with it being found later in the afternoon.

“The yacht, Tribe, which broadcast a mayday call Wednesday evening was found yesterday afternoon in Bream Bay about 4 nautical miles (7km) south of Whangarei,” says a Maritime New Zealand spokesperson.

“That is about 80 nautical miles (150km) north of where it made its mayday call.”

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ is thanking all the organisations and people who searched for the missing yacht.”

RCCNZ Operations Manager, Neville Blakemore, says search and rescue – on sea, land or air – is always a partnership and simply could not happen without the expertise, willingness and great teamwork of all involved.

The New Zealand Defence Force committed HMNZS Te Kaha and Royal New Zealand Air Force C130 Hercules to the search, had a Seasprite helicopter on standby, and made a P3 Orion returning from supporting a search and rescue mission in the Pacific available if it was needed.

Coastguard Units, Whangamata, Whitianga, Tairua/Pauanui and Waiheke’s vessels searched on Wednesday while weather permitted them to operate, and the Auckland Air Patrol aircraft joined the search yesterday.

Bay of Plenty-based commercial operator Sunair Aviation contributed one of its aircraft to the search with an experienced search and rescue team on board.

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (Westpac Auckland) and Philips Search and Rescue Trust (TECT Rescue, Tauranga) both provided helicopters for searching Wednesday.

Police provided critical and important support, receiving calls from the public, undertaking enquiries, following up on leads and helping contact families of the other yachts in the search area, says Neville.

The vessel was located near Bream Bay, 150km from where it made its mayday call. Image: Google Maps.

“Most importantly, Police were contacted yesterday afternoon by occupants of a yacht to enquire if there was a search underway to locate their vessel. It was the vessel that had issued the Mayday call. Police forwarded the information to RCCNZ and the search was stood down,” says Neville.

“We would also like to thank the families and emergency contacts of the other yachts in the search area.

“They gave Police and RCCNZ the names of vessels and confirmed they were safe. That is important information as it means we can eliminate those vessels from the search and be more specific about what and who we are looking for and where they might be.

Maritime NZ recommends the following simple things that may help keep you safe on boats:

-Everyone on board wears their lifejacket

-Take two waterproof ways to call for help – a distress beacon (PLB or EPIRB) and VHF radio are best, and close to shore, a cellphone in a waterproof bag can be one way to call for help

-Check the marine weather forecast

-Avoid alcohol

-Be a responsible skipper.

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Posted on 22-02-2021 12:24 | By morepork

... very glad they’re safe. It looks like the boat didn’t sink after all and was driven North. There was obviously confusion over East and West but that was probably down to the stress of the situation. Maybe the co-ordinates given were correct at the time they were sent. 80 KM would not be a lot if there were high winds over a period of hours after the Mayday was sent. Fantastic job by all rescue services.

lost at sea

Posted on 19-02-2021 15:04 | By hapukafin

Is this a case of Tribes crew not knowing how to read its co-ordinates,or was it relayed wrong?