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One person has died and another is in a critical condition after a 47ft yacht sank in stormy conditions 20 nautical miles off Cape Brett on the east coast of Northland, New Zealand
The incident occurred around mid-day Monday, conditions at the time were recorded inside the Bay of Islands at 48kts gusting 60kts, blowing from the east, and would be expected to be stronger offshore.
Conditions have since moderated but sea heights averaging over 4 metres are predicted, with occasional swells 30% higher.
Cape Brett is at the entrance to the Bay of Islands and is the turning point for the Coastal Classic yacht race which will be run in 10 days time.
The weather conditions had been predicted yesterday and appropriate warnings issued.
The racing yacht Lionheart foundered in heavy easterly seas off the Northland coast, north of Cape Brett, in June 1983, in similar circumstances. Seven lives were lost.
statement issued by NZ Police reads:
Police and emergency services are responding to a water incident off the coast of Northland.
Emergency services were notified following reports a yacht sank about 37 kilometres off the coast of Cape Brett.
A mayday call was received about 12.30pm today 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
Source: Sail-World NZ