9 Nov 2012

Injured yachties rescued in Pacific

7:54 pm on 9 November 2012

A New Zealand woman rescued from a stricken yacht in the Pacific says she and her partner will never go on a yachting trip again.

Tania Davies from Auckland and her Welsh partner Steve Jones were safely transferred to a cargo British ship from their damaged boat about 700km southwest of Tonga on Friday.

Ms Davies, 43, and Mr Jones, 52, are understood to have suffered mild to moderate head injuries when their 11.6-metre-long yacht Windigo rolled in 10-metre swells after leaving Tonga for New Zealand on Tuesday. They set off an emergency beacon the following day.

The cargo ship Chengtu diverted to rescue them had been waiting for wind and swells to ease before attempting a rescue.

Ms Davies told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Friday they spent three days huddled in the cabin being tossed about by massive seas before container ship arrived and neither she nor Mr Jones would be going yachting again.

"We have come to a combined decision we are definitely not going to be in any more sea adventures - we're going to look forward to new adventures on land."

Search and rescue mission coordinator Keith Allen said lines from the cargo ship were able to be lowered to the yacht on Friday morning and the couple were pulled to safety.

Mr Allen said their medical condition was still to be assessed, but it is understood that both suffered minor head injuries and Mr Jones also hurt his back.

Another yacht, Adventure Bound, had gone to the scene and its crew kept the injured pair company and gave moral support.

Steven Jones' mother Elizabeth Jones says she was relieved to get a call saying her son was safe because she had heard the rough weather was hampering rescue efforts.

"So when it came through that they'd actually got them, it was brilliant."

Navy ship HMNZS Otago was due to meet up with the cargo ship on Friday afternoon to take the pair to New Zealand, where Mrs Jones says they are planning to spend Christmas with Ms Davies' family.