UK Family Shipwrecks in South Pacific, Gets Quick Help

Their 50-foot catamaran ran aground in heavy seas
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 28, 2017 7:57 AM CDT
Shipwrecked UK Family Rescued in South Pacific
Stock photo   (Getty Images/cdwheatley)

The captain of a sailboat that rescued a British family of four from a remote reef in the South Pacific says the family was resting Monday and recovering from their overnight ordeal, the AP reports. Rescuer Martin Vogel says the family's catamaran was a wreck after it ran aground in heavy seas at about 2:30am on Beveridge Reef, an uninhabited and semi-submerged atoll off New Zealand that has plagued mariners in the past. After communicating by radio with the family, Vogel says he and six crew members managed to rescue the family using a life raft when daylight broke a few hours later. They included two adults and a boy and girl, about 13 and 11. "They were pretty distressed but they're all sleeping now," Vogel says by satellite phone aboard his vessel, Dona Catharina. "Honestly, they're coping remarkably well."

Geoff Lunt, a senior search and rescue officer from New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Center, says it was very lucky Vogel's 60-foot ketch happened to be anchored inside the reef's lagoon, en route to a remote island to study humpback whales. Lunt says the family aboard the 50-foot catamaran Avanti activated their distress beacon at just after 2:30am and that New Zealand officials then sent out an alert to ships. The Dona Catharina responded by 2:50am. Vogel says he wasn't sure if the family had planned to shelter at the reef or were simply unaware of its existence. The family was able to gather some clothes, passports, and a few treasured items before fleeing their vessel. (More rescue stories.)

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