Yachtie blown overboard rescued off NT

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A lone yachtsman who fell overboard off the Northern Territory coast has been rescued after activating a personal locator beacon in his lifejacket.

At about 9.30am on Monday Water Police in Darwin were advised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) of the beacon activation some 90km northeast of Nhulunbuy.

AMSA deployed a fix-winged aircraft from Cairns while Nhulunbuy Police launched their rescue vessel with three crew who headed to the beacon activation point.

The AMSA plane crew advised soon after that the yacht was drifting and the lone sailor was in the water some 23km from his vessel.

The crew dropped a life raft to the skipper who scrambled inside and made radio contact, saying he had been knocked into the water by a freak gust of wind and could not make it back to the boat as it drifted away.

Due to poor weather and heavy seas the police vessel Nhulunbuy took some five hours to reach the yachtie.

On return to shore the rescued man was taken to Gove District Hospital for a check-up to find he was in good health with no injuries.

NT Police acting Superintendent Michael Milde said in a statement on Tuesday the rescue was "a great effort by all involved in challenging conditions".

"The team work displayed by all agencies including AMSA, Water Police and Nhulunbuy police members certainly saved this man's life."

Supt Milde commended the yachtie for wearing a life jacket with a personal locator beacon.

"The end result would have been tragic if not for this equipment."

Weather conditions at the time meant the yacht could not be recovered but its progress was being tracked.