Boaties rescued after yacht sinks after hitting object off Niue

Two boaties have been rescued after their yacht hit a semi-submerged object, causing it to sink 50 nautical miles west of Niue last night.

Map showing location of yacht Gwendonline, which sunk off Niue. Source: Maritime New Zealand.

A distress signal was sent out after the incident caused damage below the waterline of the yacht Gwendoline at around 6.15pm, Maritime New Zealand said in a statement.

The two people on board were forced to abandon the vessel for a life raft.

Two nearby yachts, one New Zealand-flagged and the other Greek, responded to a request for assistance by Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ). Crew on board the two yachts were able to communicate with the pair from their life raft using a VHF radio.

"This shows the critical importance of working communications equipment, and the absolute necessity to carry survival equipment, especially when sailing offshore," RCCNZ Search and Rescue Officer Mike Roberts said.

"The abandoned yacht was described by those who assisted with the rescue as being seen to be sinking quickly."

"The New Zealand and Greek flagged yachts that assisted did a marvellous job, and they are all now sailing to Tonga."

In a separate incident last month an elderly couple were rescued after their yacht hit a reef in Niue.