by Amy Sloan
Police are conducting aerial searches for a missing sailor in coordination with AusSAR after locating a yacht on the rocks of Cape Wilberforce near Gove in the Northern Territory this morning.
Roxanne at anchor in happier times - public asked to keep a lookout
Superintendent Michael White of the Arafura Division said the 61-year-old sailor set off from the Gove Yacht Club at around 7:30am yesterday.
'We believe the man was travelling to Darwin alone, however his abandoned yacht ‘Roxanne’ was located by a passing vessel approximately 17nm from Gove today,' Superintendent White said.
'The hull appears to have been damaged, causing the vessel to take on water.
'Information suggests an EPIRB was onboard the yacht, however may not have been activated prior to departure.
'Police and NT Emergency Services personnel, with assistance from other agencies continue to search for the missing man and urge anyone that may be passing near or over the area, to keep an eye out.'
In the meantime, two sailors have been winched from a damaged yacht, the 10 metre Morning Tide, after spending a night adrift in rough seas off the NSW north coast. The yacht had lost its mast in the bad conditions and this was followed by problems with the yacht's engine.
A little after midnight, with the seas continuing high, twelve metre swells and the yacht now taking on water, the two sailors decided to activate their emergency distress beacon
The rough seas prevented a seaborne rescue from launching, but two helicopters were launched and found the sailing boat just after 8am today near Cape Byron.
A 72-year-old man and a 32-year-old female were winched off the boat and flown to Archerfield in Brisbane.
'They were treated in the helicopter by flight paramedics for hypothermia and fatigue,' Queensland's Department of Community Safety said in a statement.
The are now being treated at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.