ACT leader David Seymour has paid tribute to a well-known sailor and ACT Party candidate who died when his yacht sank off the east coast of Northland following bad weather yesterday.
Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy Trust chairman Stuart Pedersen, his wife and two others were forced to abandon their 47-foot vessel after it began taking on water 37 kilometres off Cape Brett, SunLive reports.
Mr Pedersen died in the incident, while Pamela remains in Whangārei Hospital.
Two others who were on board have since been discharged from hospital.
"Stuart Pedersen was a kind man, a fantastic family man, he chaired a trust in Tauranga to give back by teaching more kids and introducing them to sailing," Mr Seymour said.
"Sailing was his passion and he generously shared that with other people. It was a terrible thing that he was lost even if he was doing what he loved."
In a statement, the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club confirmed the news of Mr Pedersen's death.
"My information is that the deceased sailor is one of our leading club members, tornado sailor and chairman of BOPSAT, Stuart Pedersen," the club said.
Emergency services received a mayday call from the boat just after midday yesterday, but it had sunk by the time the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived.
An Airforce Orion aircraft dropped a life raft for the group before two Westpac Rescue helicopters winched the four people on board.