7 August 2019
Last night, at 6.15 pm New Zealand time, the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) were alerted to a distress call from
the vessel Gwendoline 50 nautical miles west of Niue. The yacht was taking on water and sinking after hitting a
semi-submerged object and causing damage below the waterline.
The two people on board the sailing boat abandoned the yacht to their life raft.
RCCNZ Search and Rescue Officer Mike Roberts requested assistance from two yachts in the area. They responded to the
calls and have made contact with the two people on board the Gwendoline’s life raft by VHF radio, who confirmed they
were in their life raft, and their yacht was sinking quickly.
Mike Roberts said, “This shows the critical importance of working communications equipment, and the absolute necessity
to carry survival equipment, especially when sailing offshore.
“The New Zealand and Greek flagged yachts that assisted did a marvellous job, and they are all now sailing to Tonga. The
abandoned yacht was described by those who assisted with the rescue as being seen to be sinking quickly.”
RCCNZ is a division of Maritime NZ and is responsible for coordinating land, sea and air, search and rescue. It
• maritime and aviation search and rescue missions within New Zealand’s search and rescue region (30 million square
• initial action for search and rescue operations arising from someone activating a distress beacon.
These incidents are termed ‘Category II’ incidents. RCCNZ also assists with other rescues when required, and provide
search and rescue (SAR) services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.