Daybreak bid to rescue yacht crew 10 Oct 2005
A cargo ship was standing by a crippled yacht northeast of New Zealand last night waiting for daylight to try to rescue the crew.

The 5000-tonne refrigerated freighter Maunakea was in radio contact with an injured man and a woman aboard the dismasted yacht Janette Gay.

An RNZAF Orion found the yacht wallowing in heavy seas and strong winds after it sent a mayday call. The Orion circled the area, keeping an eye on the yacht until after the Maunakea arrived. The aircraft then headed for Auckland about 10pm.

New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre spokesman Lindsay Sturt said late last night the freighter's skipper reported the ship did not have search or floodlights, and conditions made it too risky and difficult to attempt a rescue bid in darkness.

"But they are in radio contact and we understand the injured man is in a reasonable condition," Mr Sturt said. "We believe he has a back injury. The woman is unhurt and is okay."

The Orion found the yacht 780km northeast of the Chatham Islands, about halfway between New Zealand and the Cooks, the yacht's destination.