Double tragedy aboard 65ft yacht Platino as a well-known boatbuilder is killed and another crew member lost overboard. The three remaining crew were rescued by a container ship.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has suspended the search for the sailor lost overboard from the 20m yacht Platino on Monday morning, 550km north of New Zealand.

The man, in his 60s, was not wearing a lifejacket.

An RNZAF P3 Orion aircraft was on the scene within 90 minutes of the incident but despite searching over two days no sign has been found of the missing man.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Ramon Davis said the decision to suspend the search was taken only after a full review of the search operation.

‘At this point, we are satisfied that we have taken all possible steps to find the missing man – but sadly we have found no trace of him. Expert advice indicates the maximum survival time for a person in the water in this area has now been exceeded. We have therefore made a decision to suspend the search’” Mr Davis said.

‘This is obviously an extremely difficult time for the family and our thoughts are with them.’

RCCNZ has issued a notice to ships travelling through the area to be on the lookout for the man.

The Platino and the Southern Lily. Image courtesy- New Zealand Defence Force

The Platino and the Southern Lily. Image courtesy- New Zealand Defence Force

What happened?

There were five people on board the 20m Ron Holland designed yacht Platino.

On Monday, RCCNZ was alerted at 11.20am that one male had been killed and another man knocked overboard from the 20m Platino, which sustained serious rigging damage in winds of up to 75km/h (40 knots).

Yesterday afternoon, two men and a woman – named as owners Tory and Brent McKeogh, and Ross McKee – were rescued from Platino by the container ship Southern Lily which re-routed to assist the stricken yacht.

The crewman lost overboard has not yet been publicly named.

The crew member killed has been named as Nick Saull, head of New Zealand boat-building firm Brin Wilson Boat Builders.

A spokesman for Brin Wilson Boat Builders said: Nick Saull was tragically lost on Monday 13 June 2016, our thoughts are with his family at this time. Brin Wilson Boats will continue to operate as usual from Friday 17 June.

‘As there has been a vast amount of interest in this website over the past few days we ask anyone who is wanting to get in touch with the family of Nick Saull to pass on the their wishes and condolences to please visit the following Facebook Page’

The body of Mr Saull remains on board the abandoned yacht, as he could not be safely transferred in the difficult conditions with three metre swells. An EPIRB beacon has been activated on the yacht, which was taking on water, to aid in tracking its location.

The Singapore-flagged Southern Lily is expected to arrive in Auckland this afternoon.


A Tug Boat dispatched is en route to Platino with the aim of bringing Mr Saull’s body home to his family, it is expected to reach the vessel Friday mid to late morning.