Posted by Maritime New Zealand Press release on 24/01/2012
A 406 MHz beacon alert from a fishing vessel was picked up 50 nautical miles (92 kilometres) north-east off the coast of Tauranga at 12 midday today by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).
The beacon is registered to an 18m long liner, the Rebecca May. RCCNZ issued broadcasts to vessels in the area and tasked a fixed-wing aircraft to investigate and a Whitianga based helicopter to follow.
The aircraft identified a large amount of smoke, along with a liferaft and buoys but could not see the crew of the vessel.
A nearby fishing vessel Lady Columbo responded to RCCNZâ€™s broadcast and arrived on the scene shortly after the fixed-wing and picked up all three crew from the liferaft at around 1.30pm.
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is making preliminary inquiries into the incident, at this stage there is no indication of the cause.
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