The hull of a wrecked yacht has been found in Tonga 20 months after going missing

The wreckage of a trimaran missing since June 2005 has washed up on the Tongan island of Uonuku. Neither the skipper nor crew have been found and are presumed drowned. A single hull of the 12.6m yachtManoahwas discovered with a desperate plea for help painted in white on the blue hull, reading ‘HELP 2 POB’.

The last contact with the home-built Australian vessel was by text message off Wellington, New Zealand on 9 June, 2005 as it was heading for Rarotonga. When the skipper Gary Cull and crew Verona Hunt failed to arrive, a massive sea search was started on 14 July but nothing was found.

The weed and barnacle encrusted hull has given authorities no clue as to what happened but the yacht reportedly had no lifelines, liferaft and no parachute flares. New Zealand regulations that would have forbidden theManoahto set off did not apply as the yacht was registered in Australia.

Caption: A desperate SOS ‘Help 2 POB’ painted on the hull of the wrecked yacht.
Photo: The Daily Telegraph (AUS)