A SEARCH-AND-RESCUE aircraft made contact with a solo round-the-world yachtsman who is floating in a life raft in remote waters after abandoning his vessel south-west of Tasmania last night.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority detected an emergency beacon about 1pm yesterday and last night said the Frenchman had been located in his life raft about 946 kilometres from Hobart.
The sailor, believed to have been at sea for months, abandoned his yacht after it lost its mast and suffered hull damage in rough conditions.
An AMSA spokesdhwoman said a second life raft containing communications equipment had been dropped down to him.
She said contact had been made with the Frenchman, but officers were not able to get much information because he spoke very little English.
She said a second search-and-rescue plane, with French-speaking Victoria Police officers on board, was on its way to the scene to monitor the man and try to contact any nearby vessels that could rescue him.
The spokeswoman said shipping in the area had been alerted and the Orion cruise liner was on its way to assist the man.