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Fishermen rescued from Kaipara sand bar

CARYN WIGMORE
Last updated 05:00 22/05/2014

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Four fishermen spent a rough night 18kms offshore as winds blew their broken down boat towards the dangerous Kaipara sand bar.

Charter fisherman Rod Bridge and two mates came to their rescue on Tuesday, braving 7-metre swells to tow the commercial vessel to Shelly Beach.

''With those sorts of waves they would've sunk at the bar,'' the Shamrock Charters Kaipara owner says.

''They were very glad to see us.''  

It took all day to pull the 18.28m (60 foot) boat which proved too big for the coastguard to handle.

''It's like towing a brick,'' Bridge, the skipper of the 14.63m charter boat says.

''It probably weighs 50 tonnes (50,000kg) and it's got 10 tonnes (10,000kg) of fish on board. It's no baby.'' 

The fishermen had plenty to eat on board but were worried about where the wind was taking them.

''It's not a good look when you're out there and you've got no power.

''One guy's partner has hardly got any fingernails left,'' Bridge says.

The fishermen had just decided to head home when they found the injector pumps had failed.

A few frantic phone calls led them to Bridge who cancelled a booked fishing trip to carry out the rescue mission.

Bridge set sail from Helensville at 4am in stormy seas.

''We were in 4m to 5m swells and as we went across the waves went up to 7m high. They were getting closer to the sand bar all the time.'' 

Bridge reached the floundering vessel about 8.30am and towed it slowly to shore with 400m of rope.

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- Norwest News

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