Watch: Kiwi yachtie pulled from ocean after treading water for three hours off East Cape

Video captured by rescuers shows the moment a man was pulled to safety after treading water for three hours following his fall from a yacht off a remote area of the East Cape.

The footage shows the man floating on his back in the ocean before a rescue swimmer is hoisted from a helicopter. It then shows the man - who appears to be exhausted - being brought to safety.

The man fell from a 10-metre yacht about 28km from Tolaga Bay on Wednesday afternoon. The remaining passenger onboard the boat called for help at about 2pm.

A large search ensued which included the Hawke's Bay Rescue helicopter, the Gisborne Coastguard, two fixed-wing aircraft and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3k2 Orion, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre told Newhsub.

A crew onboard the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter spotted the man in the water about three hours later, and he was pulled to safety.

Although it isn't know what led to the man going overboard, RCCNZ senior search and rescue co-ordinator Chris Henshaw had this message: "Lifejackets are essential for all recreational activities on the water."

He added that it was fortunate the yacht was fitted with both a VHF radio and two emergency beacons, so authorities could be alerted quickly. 

"Without appropriate communications devices and beacons, it may have turned out differently," Mr Henshaw said. 

Newshub is interested in speaking to the yachtie that was rescued. If that's you, or you know who this is, please get in touch by emailing or calling (09) 928 9050.