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Italian Sailors Rescued

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Two Italian sailors stranded on their yacht midway between New Zealand and Chile were rescued by oil tanker Hellespont Trooper at 8.30 this morning. Father and son Pietro Fresi, 64 and Vittorio Fresi, 34, have been awaiting rescue since their mayday call in the early hours of Monday morning. The tanker reached the pair around midnight last night, but the crew were unable to rescue the sailors until this morning, due to strong winds and heavy seas.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has coordinated the rescue of the pair, who were stranded on their 34-foot Italian-registered yacht Onitron when their mast snapped and their motor failed. The sailors were stranded more than 2,000 nautical miles from New Zealand, in the eastern reaches of our search and rescue area.

The RCCNZ contacted the oil tanker and tasked its crew with the rescue of the sailors. The tanker's initial position was 800 nautical miles from the yacht, and it has been steadily making its way towards the stranded sailors over the past two-and-a-half days.

The two men, who maintained good spirits throughout their ordeal, were well-equipped, experienced sailors in good health. The RCCNZ has been monitoring the situation throughout, and has been in regular contact with the sailors via satellite phone, using an interpreter from the Italian Embassy in Wellington.

The tanker, with the pair on board, will continue its voyage to Argentina.

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