A New Zealand woman and a British man have been pulled off a stricken yacht which rolled in rough weather between Tonga and New Zealand.
A rescue operation resumed this morning for Aucklander Tania Davies and Australian-based Brit Steve Jones.
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said the injured pair are now safely aboard the cargo ship Chengtu after they were rescued from the damaged yacht Windigo just before 9am.
The Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Keith Allen from the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said heaving lines were lowered from the cargo vessel to the damaged yacht and the British man and the Auckland woman pulled aboard.
Both sustained mild to moderate head injuries after their 11.6m yacht rolled 700km southwest of Tonga and 1260km northwest of New Zealand after leaving Tonga two days ago, MNZ said.
Jones has also suffered a back injury. None of the injuries are believed to be serious, MNZ said.
MNZ said that the pair's medical condition will be assessed and the Chengtu will now head south to meet with the Navy vessel HMNZS Otago late this afternoon.
Allen commended the efforts of the Chengtu, which arrived at the yacht at 3.40am, the yacht Adventure Bound, which has also been on-site overnight, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, which provided a P3-Orion that made three trips to the stricken yacht providing the only communication link.
A French naval plane also made two trips from Noumea to the scene.
"This is the outcome we have been working towards since the emergency beacon was activated on Wednesday afternoon.
"It is the result of an excellent coordinated effort involving the RNZAF, which provided a link for the two people on the Windigo when there was no other means of contact, and the Navy, and I would also like to express my appreciation to the captain of the Chengtu and the crew of the Adventure Bound for their efforts," Jones said.
An emergency beacon signal from the 11.6-metre Windigo was picked up about 6.30pm on Wednesday, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said.
The Windigo had righted itself after rolling but was disabled and taking on water.
The HMNZS Otago was diverted yesterday from exercises in the Hauraki Gulf to assist.
The Air Force Orion also investigated a second distress beacon that was activated at about 5am yesterday, 230km southwest of Tonga, discovering it to be the Tongan fishing boat Lesila, with three people on board.
It had lost power and was requesting a tow to Tonga, but was not in immediate distress, MNZ said.