Family in kayak rescue praised
A Mapua family's quick action when a kayak expedition around Rabbit Island went wrong could well have saved their lives.
A father, mother and 13-year-old daughter were returning to Mapua after kayaking around Rabbit Island when they got into difficulty on the Mapua Channel's notorious outgoing tide in the Waimea Estuary on Sunday.
Just before 3pm the mother was tipped out of her solo kayak and was being washed out to sea. The father, who was also being swept to sea in his solo kayak, called police on his cellphone. Meanwhile, the daughter capsized and swam to shore to raise the alarm.
Coastguard Nelson were contacted by police minutes after they had received the call and 12 minutes later, the Coastguard vessel Talleys Marine Rescue was on the water with four crew.
They picked up the father about 2 kilometres from shore, just outside the estuary, and the mother was picked up by the Mapua Ferry. Coastguard Nelson vice-president Peter Kara said the family had done the right thing by raising the alarm straight away.
"As soon as he realised he was in trouble he called police. I heard he may have been a bit embarrassed about having to do it but that probably saved their lives. That current goes really quick and it could have been a very different situation.
"We had fantastic co-operation between the police and ourselves and having the Mapua Ferry right there was a great asset."
He praised the family for all wearing lifejackets and having a method of communication.
He said the cellphone contact meant the man could be on the phone with the Coastguard, who were talking to police communications, and hear that the Mapua Ferry had picked up his wife.
"I even heard that he is now thinking about getting a VHF marine radio, so that's great."
The Nelson Mail