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Lone yachtsman rescued in rough seas

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The only way rescuers could spot a lone Australian yachtsman in rough seas off New Zealand was to get him to fire a flare.

In “hideous” North Easterly winds and a heavy northerly swell, Far North Radio and Sea Rescue volunteers searched for the stricken yacht with a damaged mainsail in Cosmos Explorer, off Northland’s coast.

Four trained volunteers aboard the Dedicated Rescue Vessel (DRV) Lily Walker departed Mill Bay with Mangonui constable Dave Reynolds assisting in the Doubtless Bay rescue.

Mr Reynolds, a former fisherman off the Isles of Scilly near England, says it was the roughest seas he had experienced, reports the New Zealand Herald.

"These guys put their lives on the line to rescue someone else. It was atrocious conditions although the wind did drop when he was being towed back in.

"It was impossible to see where he was so we got those in communication with him to [tell him to] let a flare off."

The flare was spotted and the team rescued the man.

The rescue team operates on donations. Its vessel had originally been used by the coastguard on Kawau Island, near Auckland.

"They certainly showed they had the ability to carry out a rescue in rough conditions," Mr Reynold says.

The image is from the Far North Radio and Sea Rescue Facebook page.

Aug 15, 2017