Royal New Zealand Navy sailor dies after training incident

The New Zealand Defence Force is saddened to confirm that Able Communications Technician Zachary Christopher Yarwood, aged 23, died in hospital yesterday following an incident during a dive-training exercise on Monday night at the Devonport Naval Base.

Able Communications Technician Yarwood joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2013 and served in HMNZS Te Kaha and Philomel.

At the time of the incident, he was on an advanced diver training course, looking to join HMNZS Matataua as a qualified diver.

Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor said the Royal New Zealand Navy was mourning a young sailor who had already packed so much into his career and embodied its core values of courage, commitment and comradeship in everything he did.

“My condolences are with Zachary’s fiancée, his parents and his two beloved brothers as they, along with us, come to terms with his passing,” Rear Admiral Proctor said.

“Zachary’s loss will affect not only his family, but many within the Navy and the wider NZDF whanau.”


Able Communications Technician Yarwood’s family are being supported by a Family Liaison Officer, his shipmates and the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Police, WorkSafe NZ and the Coroner are investigating the incident.

NZDF will also conduct a Court of Inquiry.





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Brian Hartigan

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