4 Jun 2019

Norwegian sailor in distress located in the Pacific

11:23 am on 4 June 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force says it has found the Norwegian sailor who sent a distress signal 2800 kilometres east-northeast of New Zealand this morning.

The New Zealand Defence Force has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft to help search for two vessels in Kiribati that failed to return from separate fishing trips last week.

Photo: NZ Defence Force

The Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Air Commodore Tim Walshe, said a P-3 Orion found the sailor and his stricken 13-metre vessel shortly after arriving at the search area.

He said the sailor was standing on the stern waving his red jacket.

The SV Albatross, which had suffered a mechanical failure, was buffeted by southwesterly swells of up to 3.5 metres and 20-knot winds.

The vessel left the Bay of Islands on 14 May to travel to Papeete.

"The Orion crew were able to establish communications with the skipper and he told them that he was safe and well but would like to evacuate," Air Commodore Walshe said.

A nearby cargo vessel is set to rendezvous with the boat by mid-afternoon.