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Capsized boats keep Waiheke rescue busy

Last updated 09:14 23/01/2013
coastguard waiheke

SAFE RETURN: Waiheke Rescue was involved in the retrieval of a boat and four fishermen in Calypso Bay.

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Waiheke Rescue was out on the water at 6.45am on Saturday morning helping four fishermen in the water off Calypso Bay less than 24 hours after helping in the search for a 13-year-old boy after the boat he was in capsized in rough water near Ponui Island.

When Waiheke Rescue arrived at Calypso Bay two fishing boats had pulled the men from the water and the crew on Howick Rescue was giving them first aid.

Waiheke Rescue towed the overturned boat to shallow water and with the help of Howick Rescue, righted it and got it in closer to the beach.

Both crews used their salvage pumps to empty the vessel. The boat was towed to Bucklands Beach by ASB Rescue with the rescued men aboard.

A rogue wave on an otherwise flat, calm sea is believed to be the cause of the capsize.

Life jackets were on board but they were not being worn, Waiheke Coastguard president John Percy says.

"It just goes to show that even on calm days things can go horribly wrong."

Unused life jackets were also found on the upturned vessel Ocean's One the day before. It had police, helicopters and the coastguard combing the Hauraki Gulf for the four-metre runabout which had capsized within an hour of launching with four male family members from Papakura on board.

Three were rescued after a yacht came upon the upturned boat near Ponui. By that time the trio had spent more than 20 hours in the water. The 13-year-old is still missing.

None of the survivors were wearing life jackets when they were found. There were two life jackets onboard when their boat was towed ashore.

Coastguard operations manager Ray Burge says there were probably too many people in the boat given its small size, and the men should have checked the weather and taken better safety precautions.

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