Fishing trip turns tragic as girl, 13, dies

A 13-year-old Balclutha girl died after a boat capsized in Surat Bay, east of Owaka, in the Catlins yesterday.

Police said the girl was with her father and a 13-year-old male friend heading out to fish when their 3.5 metre runabout capsized after the motor failed and the boat was swamped 300m from shore.

All three were wearing lifejackets.

Acting Sergeant Steve Griffiths, of Balclutha, said the two males managed to get back to shore and it is understood they raised the alarm.

Emergency services from Owaka and Balclutha were called to the incident about 1.30pm, and a Dunedin-based rescue helicopter was deployed to search for the girl. She was found on the beach in Surat Bay about half an hour later and although "every effort" was made to revive her, those efforts were unsuccessful, Mr Griffiths said.

It was windy at the time of the incident and people at the scene described the sea as rough.

Police were in contact with the girl's family and her name was not expected to be released last night.

An autopsy would be carried out, Mr Griffiths said.

James Clark, who manages the New Haven Holiday Park in Surat Bay, said he was one of the people who rang 111 after a woman ran in and told him a boat had capsized.

He went down to the beach where one of the men staying at the holiday park was helping get the girl out of the water.

"The family that was staying with us did a great job. One camper got her out of the water and another tried to administer CPR, but it was too late to save her," he said.

The Southland Times