Sailor rescued off French Polynesian reef

2:17 pm on 8 February 2019

A lone French sailor has been rescued off a reef in French Polynesia in an operation carried out with a helicopter in the middle of the night.

63552730 - close up of a screw of black with gray stripes bell 407 helicopter standing on green grass field in blue sky background.

Photo: lazorphoto/123RF

La Depeche de Tahiti reported that after receiving the distress signal from Mopelia atoll, contact was lost.

It said it took a Tahiti-based helicopter just under three hours to locate the stricken catamaran almost 500 km away in the west of the Society Islands.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said the entire operation to rescue the sailor was carried out in darkness.

It advises yachties to have communications equipment that allows for help to arrive quickly.