Couple on stricken yacht rescued

Two people trapped on a stricken yacht 1260km northwest of New Zealand have been rescued by the crew of a cargo ship this morning.

Auckland woman Tania Davies, 43, and Australian-based Briton Steve Jones, 52, were rescued from their damaged yacht Windigo about 9am and are now safely aboard the cargo ship Chengtu.

They both suffered mild to moderate head injuries after their 11.6m yacht rolled after leaving Tonga two days ago.

Mr Jones has also suffered a back injury; however, none of the injuries are believed to be serious.

Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Keith Allen from the Rescue Coordination Centre paid tribute to the efforts of the Chengtu, the yacht Adventure Bound which assisted the rescue overnight, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, which provided a P3-Orion that made three trips to the stricken yacht, providing the only communications link.

A French naval plane also made two trips from Noumea to the scene.

"This is the outcome we have been working towards since the emergency beacon was activated on Wednesday afternoon,'' Mr Allen said.

"It is the result of an excellent coordinated effort involving the RNZAF, which provided a link for the two people on the Windigo when there was no other means of contact, and the Navy, and I would also like to express my appreciation to the captain of the Chengtu and the crew of the Adventure Bound for their efforts."

The pair's medical conditions will be assessed aboard the Chengtu, which is heading south to meet Navy vessel HMNZS Otago late this afternoon.

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

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