New Zealand sailors and their Mexican skipper were evacuated from a burning yacht last night. The vessel caught fire 280 km south of the small island of Niue in the Pacific Ocean.
According to press reports, the fire broke out around midnight while crew members of the 15-metre vessel SV Sunny Deck were asleep. The flames spread so quickly that the men had no time to dress and collect their valuables, but the skipper was able to signal a distress using a radio beacon and lower a life raft into the water, where the entire crew moved in.
The rescuers got the signal and reported the incident to the container ship, which was 38 km away from the burning yacht. The ship picked up people two hours after the fire started and will deliver the yachtsmen to Auckland on June 27. None of the crew members were seriously injured.