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Rowers save men from long wait

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 10:07 31/10/2012

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Three jetboaters were saved a long wait on a sand bank in the middle of the Oreti River last night thanks to the efforts of the Waihopai Rowing Club.

The boaties were left high and dry in the middle of the river near the rowing club after they ran aground.

Waihopai Rowing Club president Terry Reeves said the men were freed from their predicament when members of the club and several competitors training for the upcoming Corporate Eights went to their rescue.

''No one was in any real danger but the guys in the jet boat would have had to sit it out until the tide went out. That could have been into the early hours of the morning,'' he said.

Mr Reeves said the club members and corporate rowers jumped aboard a couple of coach's boats when the alarm was raised and went out to the men stranded on the sand bank.

''There were about eight of us and we managed to eventually shunt the boat 30 metres and off the bank. It was heavy as buggery,'' he said.

The section of the Oreti river where the jet boat was stranded was a notorious stretch of water, Mr Reeves said.

''It is treacherous at that spot with the huge sand bank in the middle and a couple of channels running down its side. It can be tricky with the exposed sand bank growing every minute when the tide goes down.''

Senior Sergeant Dave Raynes, of Invercargill, said police were called to the Oreti River at about 7pm when a jet boat got stuck on mud flat.

Police used a loud hailer to talk to the three men and initially they were going to wait for the tide to rise and float out, he said.

However, the rowing club were able to help free the men.

Mr Raynes said the only concerns police had were the men in the boat did not have an anchor or working mobile phones.

It was important anyone planning on boating was properly prepared, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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