You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
One person is dead and three others were winched to safety after their yacht sank north of Cape Brett near the Bay of Islands today.
The New Zealand Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre received a distress call from the occupants of a 47-foot yacht about 1pm.
The four people said they were abandoning their vessel, having lost their liferaft in the five to six-metre swells and 40 to 50 knot gusts.
A Coastguard vessel, a Navy helicopter, an Air Force Orion aircraft and a Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Auckland were dispatched.
The Orion crew located the four in the water around 2.47pm and dropped a life raft, from which they were winched up by the rescue helicopter.
One person died, one was in a critical condition and the two others were "moderately unwell".
The survivors were flown to the Northland Rescue Helicopter base on Western Hills Dr before being transported to Whangārei Hospital.
Police are in the process of notifying the dead person's next of kin.
Investigations are ongoing.