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An elderly Swedish couple were rescued from their dismasted yacht near the Cook Islands today.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) detected a beacon alert from the yacht, the Blue Horizon, about 5.15pm yesterday.
The couple, a 69-year-old woman and 70-old-man, feared the broken mast would hole the hull, RCCNZ search and rescue mission controller Neville Blakemore said .
An aircraft was sent from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Pape'ete in Tahiti to fly over the yacht.
It confirmed that the nearest rescue vessel was the tanker Stena Paris.
"The tanker was diverted to rescue the couple and they were successfully taken aboard, uninjured, at around 9am this morning," he said.
"Weather conditions were not great, with swells of around four metres, so it was excellent work by the master and crew of the Stena Paris to get the couple aboard without incident."
The Stena Paris was now continuing its voyage to Pape'ete.
The yacht has been abandoned, with a warning to shipping issued.