Emergency services in New Zealand were notified following reports a yacht sank about 37 kilometres off the coast of Cape Brett. A mayday call was received about 12.30pm on October 14 after the 47 foot yacht got into trouble in the bad weather.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand have been co-ordinating a response.
Two rescue helicopters from Auckland, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion, a Coastguard vessel and a merchant vessel were sent to respond. The P3 Orion dropped a life raft to the crew and then the four occupants of the boat were winched by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Sadly, one person has subsequently died. Police are in process of notifying their next of kin. Another person is in a critical condition and is being transported to hospital by helicopter. The remaining people who were on board are in moderate condition and are being treated by ambulance.
The situation is still ongoing, and it is too soon to speculate on what caused the boat to sink.
– Adriana Weber/NZ Police
Watch the video at TVNZ to see the conditions that prevailed at the time of the rescue.
UPDATE: The sailor who lost his life has been identified as well-known Tauranga sailor and local Act Party candidate Stuart Pedersen. Yachting New Zealand has paid tribute to Mr Pederson:
Pedersen was travelling with his wife and two friends north of Cape Brett when they put out a mayday call. Members of the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter service were able to winch all four into the helicopter but Pedersen had passed away.
“Stu made a massive contribution to the sport and was also just a great guy,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Aberombie said. “He's going to be missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends as well as the crew, especially Stu's wife Pamela who is still in hospital.
“Stu had a big impact on the sport nationally through his involvement in class associations, especially windsurfing, and his work with young people in the Bay of Plenty region. He was an active club member of the Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club and long-time chairman of the Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy Trust.”
Pedersen began sailing as a youngster in the 1970s and completed a circumnavigation of the globe with his family between 2000 and 2007. He sailed a Tornado in Tauranga and also established a junior windsurfing fleet at the yacht club.