Coastguard rescues drunks from island after party of 500 gets out of hand

Drunken revellers on Ruby Island had to be helped ashore by Wanaka emergency services.
Craig Blake/QLDC

Drunken revellers on Ruby Island had to be helped ashore by Wanaka emergency services.

Up to 500 people had to be rescued from an island in the middle of Lake Wanaka after a party got out of control and they became too drunk to get back to land.

Queenstown Lakes deputy mayor Calum MacLeod and the local harbourmaster heard about the event on Ruby Island, understood to have been organised on Facebook, and headed there on Thursday afternoon.

MacLeod was "less than impressed".

The party was believed to have been organised on Facebook and attended by up to 500 people.
Supplied

The party was believed to have been organised on Facebook and attended by up to 500 people.

Were you there? Email us at newstips@stuff.co.nz

"It was the classic bad combination of alcohol and boating. Some people were too drunk to make it back on their own and if the harbourmaster's team and the coastguard hadn't been there, some of them would have come to grief."

READ MORE:
Death mars Mexican girl's giant birthday party 
Rental property trashed during out-of-control party 
British Airways passengers have party on empty plane

"It was the classic bad combination of alcohol and boating," said Queensland deputy mayor Calum MacLeod.
Craig Blake/QLDC

"It was the classic bad combination of alcohol and boating," said Queensland deputy mayor Calum MacLeod.

The Coastguard, police and fire service were called to rescue some of the revellers.

One man was pulled from the water with his lifejacket draped over his arm because he had been incapable of putting it on, and he told his rescuers that he couldn't swim.

Others, who appeared to be heavily intoxicated, were turned back as they attempted to paddle to shore, and told to wait for a ride with the coastguard.

Ruby Island at the centre of Lake Wanaka.
Marjorie Cook

Ruby Island at the centre of Lake Wanaka.

MacLeod said organisers had encouraged people to paddle across to Ruby Island, generally in flimsy inflatable boats and with large amounts of alcohol, to drink on the beach.

Ad Feedback

The organisers had insisted that everyone who took part had to wear a lifejacket but no one was enforcing the rule when people began the return trip later in the afternoon and no one was keeping count of participants to make sure that everyone got back safely.

"Things would have gone horribly wrong if the wind had got up," he said.

The incident had all the elements for trouble on a large scale, he said.

"If you get pissed and fall down at a land based event you just end up looking like an idiot however if you get pissed and fall out of a small inflatable boat you could die."

Ruby Island was not a suitable location either and the organisers should have sought a resource consent.

"There is one long-drop toilet, they hadn't made any provision for food and water, or first aid. And they effectively shut out all the rest of the people who might have wanted to go over to the island yesterday."

When the scale of the event became apparent in the early afternoon, the local harbourmaster contacted the police, who in turn called in the Wanaka coastguard to help get everyone off the island and back to shore safely.

A fire had also been lit on the island in breach of the restricted fire season, and the harbourmaster had to ferry members of the volunteer fire brigade across to the island to make sure it was completely extinguished.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

TV presenter fights off shark

Lomas says he wouldn't hesitate to continue swimming and kayaking in the area.

The presenter of TV3's Lost & Found was paddling near Takapuna Beach when he looked down to see the body of a shark attacking his kayak.

'That's our son'

Cory Parish kisses the Caulfield Cup following his upset win aboard Boom Time.

The kid from nowhere who has been through all the struggles you could imagine never gave up on the dream.

Derelict property for sale: $8m video

Only the concrete framework of an unfinished house remains on a derelict site for sale near Auckland's Takapuna beach.

An unfinished house which had been at the centre of a neighbourhood dispute could sell for more than $8m.

Girls rule at graffiti festival

Auckland-based muralist Adore (aka Emily Gardener) prepares for three days of painting at the Graffiato festival in ...

Seven of the 10 graffiti artists this year are women.

Wellington

As many one-liners as birthdays

Kapiti Coast woman Evelyn Hutchins on the eve of her 104th birthday.

Sharp memories, sharp wit: more than 103 years of NZ history and life for Evelyn Hutchins.

Quake near Kaikōura

Guests staying at the Kaikōura Boutique Hotel won't forget Sunday's 5.4 magnitude earthquake.

Hotel occupants rattled as town hit by 5.4m earthquake.

Gorge opening needs rethink

The Manawatū Gorge is unlikely to reopen any time soon as the hillside is too unstable.

Calls for the Manawatū Gorge to open to one lane while a new route is formed.

Free-to-air rugby tests a no-go

New Zealanders may not have minded not having free-to-air All Blacks' tests, following their shock loss to the Wallabies ...

It's not part of a coalition deal with NZ First, Labour confirms.

Canterbury

Diwali delights Cantabs video

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, is celebrated in Christchurch every year by Indians in South Island and the wider ...

Riches of Indian culture attracts thousands in Christchurch.

Fatal shooting on Coast

Police attend the scene of a shooting on Marsden Rd, Greymouth, on the West Coast.

A woman has died after a shooting in Greymouth.

Apartments project downsized

This original plan has been replaced by one with smaller homes.

Apartment sizes cut back in Crown-led private housing development in Christchurch.

Vandals strike dairy farms

200102014 news photo Grant Matthew / Fairfax NZ

NZ Farmer:
Dairy cow.

Around 30 irrigator tyres punctured with a drill, and milk emptied out of vats.

Waikato

Armed men rob Hamilton store

The first man was carrying a yellow-handled hatchet and had his face covered.

Carrying a hammer, hatchet and screwdriver, trio steal cash and cigarettes before leaving in a stolen car.

Fast-track housing

The two largest sites could provide about 1000 houses each, and the smallest 42 homes (file photo).

They include an old sand quarry, an old commercial site, and a patch of empty land on the edge of Melville.

Orcas scare swimmers video

The fin looks menacing in the water behind the swimmers at Hot Water Beach.

The killer whales were thought to be feasting on stingrays.

Farm's urban potential

A dairy farm for sale, with Hamilton City in the background, is being pitched for urban development.

City-fringe dairy farm marketed for potential urban housing development.

Taranaki

Good speeds at trolley derby

221017 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Trolley Derby in Eltham.

Fire truck beats tank and all comers in downhill trolley race.

Danger on the roads

A car was left extensively damaged after it rolled multiple times near Mt Messenger.

A spate of crashes keep crews busy this Labour Weekend.

Tough end to Cooper's tenure

Colin Cooper's tenure at Taranaki has ended.

"I'm disappointed, the team was good enough to have a home final here."

Here comes the model railway video

One of the trains pulls into the New Plymouth station at the New Plymouth Model Railway Club.

One of the tracks is a real life simulation of a train journey from New Plymouth to Palmerston North.

Manawatu

Toned, tanned and taunt gallery

Bodybuilding contestants in the novice shape category.

Bodybuilders from throughout the country flex their muscles in Palmerston North.

Mayor's hemp vision

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen wants the Horowhenua District Council to back hemp farming.

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen wants the council to back hemp farming.

Hartley's F1 debut video

NZ's Brendon Hartley during practice for the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, ...

Brendon Hartley finishes F1 US Grand Prix qualifying in 18th before penalties are applied.

Farm worker unfairly sacked

Federated Farmers representative David Lee-Jones was found to have unjustifiably dismissed an employee.

Federated Farmers representative must pay up for breaching a fixed-term worker's rights.

Nelson

Troubled school looks to the future

Golden Bay High School in Takaka has been under statutory management since March.

Outside governance has been appointed to manage a Takaka school and a public meeting will be held next week to discuss its future. 

Makos headed for final

Tasman Makos captain Alex Ainley is welcomed home by his daughters Emilia, left, and Kaiye at Nelson Airport after the ...

The Tasman Makos are now preparing to take on Canterbury in Saturday's premiership rugby final.

Quake shakes Kaikōura

Guests staying at the Kaikōura Boutique Hotel won't forget Sunday's 5.4 magnitude earthquake.

Almost a year on from destructive quake, hotel occupants are rattled by 5.4 magnitude shake.

Special Olympics flame in Nelson

Claire Robertson of Nelson police passes the flame to Special Olympics athlete Fraser McManus during the inaugural torch ...

Intellectually disabled athletes take part in Nelson leg of torch relay to launch games.

Marlborough

All access

NZ Access technician Tim Newton lowers himself into a wine tank during a training exercise.

The thought of confined spaces can drive some people up the walls. Not these guys.

Men 'fell like a pack of cards'

Four men were on the deck outside the Portage Resort Hotel's restaurant and bar in the Marlborough Sounds when a rail ...

A group of men fell off a Marlborough hotel deck "like a pack of cards" after a railing collapsed, a witness says.

Quake shakes Kaikōura

Guests staying at the Kaikōura Boutique Hotel won't forget Sunday's 5.4 magnitude earthquake.

Almost a year on from destructive quake, hotel occupants are rattled by 5.4 magnitude shake.

Think outside the ball

Jemma Funnell shows off a kokedama ball, on display at Thomas's Department Store in Blenheim.

The latest gardening trend to come out of Japan, dubbed the "poor man's bonsai", is bouncing its way to Marlborough.

South Canterbury

Back in town after 56 years video

Joe Gillman, 76, made the journey from Stillwater on the West Coast in his 1935 Ford V8 Coupe, to take part in the ...

Motoring enthusiast makes the journey from the West Coast in his 1935 Ford V8 Coupe to take part in the Waimate 50.

ECan waiver for some

10082016  News John Bisset/FairfaxNZ.  Tom O'Connor with his road cones he purchased so he can warn motorists of flooding

Struggling households can apply for a temporary woodburner exemption.

Timaru man flown to Christchurch

Police attended a crash at Maungati, which saw a man with serious injuries flown to Christchurch.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter takes Timaru man to Christchurch Hospital after vehicle rolls at Maungati.

Winchester Rodeo ropes them in video

Ginny Nelson tosses the rope during the team roping event at the Winchester Rodeo.

About 3000 attend rodeo event.

Otago

Encouraging start for Southern United

Southern United coach Paul O'Reilly.

Southern United have come from behind twice to secure a hard fought 2-2 draw against Auckland City in Dunedin.

Drunk teen's crash shocks

All four occupants of the car that crashed in Central Otago were intoxicated.

Intoxicated parent a passenger when drunk, unlicensed 15-year-old crashed car.

Climbers rescued after freezing night

Chris Prudden​, leader of Wakatipu LandSAR's alpine cliff rescue team.

So-called shortcut leads to 10-hour overnight stay in freezing conditions for two Aussie climbers.

Ex-convict fears 'war on me'

Rex Haig, of Dunedin, is hoping to lodge a compensation claim with the Government.

Rex Haig's murder conviction was quashed, but his fight for justice is far from over.

Southland

Location scout's extraordinary life video

Dave Comer was considered New Zealand's first professional film location scout.

From Barry Crump commercials to Peter Jackson blockbusters, Dave Comer connected NZ's landscapes with its people.

Ex-convict fears 'war on me'

Rex Haig, of Dunedin, is hoping to lodge a compensation claim with the Government.

Rex Haig's murder conviction was quashed, but his fight for justice is far from over.

Garage fire being investigated

A garage on a Conon St, Invercargill, property was gutted by fire on Sunday afternoon.

Fire investigators have been requested following a garage fire in Invercargill.

Climbers rescued after freezing night

Chris Prudden​, leader of Wakatipu LandSAR's alpine cliff rescue team.

So-called shortcut leads to 10-hour overnight stay in freezing conditions for two Aussie climbers.

Ad Feedback