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Source: Maritime New Zealand

A major search and rescue operation is underway after a mayday call was received from a sinking yacht earlier this evening.

A distress call was received via maritime radio at about 6.30pm tonight giving the yacht’s location as near Waiheke.

An initial search of the area failed to locate the yacht and search and rescue agencies believe that the yacht may have provided an incorrect location.

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ’s Search and Rescue Officer Tracy Brickles said based on the location of the radio site which received the call and the location of a nearby cargo vessel the yacht was trying to contact; it was now believed that the yacht was potentially east of the Coromandel.

“Two rescue helicopters, one Coastguard boat and the Royal New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS Te Kaha are searching both the original position provided, as well as the coast off Pauanui in the Coromandel.”

“We understand that two people are on board the yacht but we have no further information about the yacht, or what may have caused it to take on water, at this time.

“We have serious concerns for the safety of those on board. We urge anyone with any information or possible sightings to contact Police immediately by calling 111.”

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