Canadian solo yachtsman rescued from Pacific

WELLINGTON (AFP) - A Canadian solo sailor was rescued from his sinking yacht after five days adrift in the Pacific battling rough weather, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said on Tuesday.

A Swedish-flagged car-carrier, the Fidelio, made a 370km mercy dash to pluck him from the ocean some 2,300km north-east of Auckland, MNZ said.

The rescue authority said it received a distress signal from the 11m sloop L'Antillaise on Monday morning, and sent an air force Orion to investigate.

The plane spotted the yacht and diverted the Auckland-bound Fidelio to pick up the sailor.

Rescue coordinator Dave Wilson said the man, who has not been identified but is from British Columbia, hit trouble on Thursday, when his yacht sprang a leak in a storm.

He attempted to hand bail so he could continue his voyage back to Canada, but activated his distress beacon when the vessel began sinking.

"There was no question the skipper was in serious danger," Wilson said.

"The crew of the Orion did a great job finding the yacht and it was an amazing effort from the master and crew of the Fidelio to rescue the skipper at night in high winds and rough seas." The man sustained superficial facial cuts during his ordeal, and was expected to arrive in Auckland aboard the Fidelio on Thursday.

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