Four rescued after pleasure craft capsizes; search fails to find missing 52-year-old man

News from NZ Police
While searchers have recovered a boat involved in an overnight capsizing in the inner Tauranga Harbour, a missing man remains unaccounted for. An extensive search of the inner harbour, involving the Auckland based Police Eagle helicopter and local Coastguard and Surf Life Saving vessels, took place this morning while Land SAR volunteers and Mine Rescue members conducted a shore search.

The submerged boat believed to have been carrying the five people was located by a local boatee this morning and our plan is to continue the search through to this evening and then reassess our activities for tomorrow.

The incident occurred between 5-5.30pm and four people aged 07 -23 years old made it to shore on Matakana Island and then flagged down a passing boat which landed them back at Waihi Beach where the alarm was raised about 8pm.

Earlier reports the four recovered people were siblings were incorrect.

The skipper of the boat is a 52-year-old Katikati man and others on board were his 15-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter, a seven-year-old grandson and a 14-year-old friend of the teenage boy

Earlier News from NZ Police
A search for a man missing after the capsizing of a boat in the inner Tauranga Harbour off Bowentown resumed at first light today following the overnight rescue of four other people from the boat.

Sergeant Dave Litton of the Waihi Police said the search following the rescue of the four people, two males and two females aged between seven and 23, was a real whole of community response.

“From what we’ve been able to piece together so far we believe a rogue wave capsized a 14ft aluminium boat with five people aboard between Bowentown and Matakana Island between 5-5.30pm.

“The four younger people managed to swim to shore on Matakana Island but were unable to raise the alarm until they flagged down a passing boat about 7.30pm and this vessel brought the group ashore and the alarm was raised about 8pm.”

Mr Litton said with the group’s 52-year-old father still unaccounted for a search was launched which saw a tremendous response from the local and wider community.

“The group were treated by ambulance staff while a Tauranga based rescue helicopter and two rigged hull inflatables from the local surf club were launched to commence a search of the water.

“At the same time 10 members of a Waihi based Mines Rescue unit were transported to Matakana Island to begin shoreline searches there while members of the local Volunteer Fire Brigade commenced a search of the Waihi Beach-Bowentown coast. The search was unable to locate the missing Katikati man and was stood down shortly before midnight and is resuming at first light today.”

Mr Litton said the search for the missing man is being coordinated by the Waikato Police Search and Rescue squad and will again involve significant numbers of local people from a variety of organisations.

“It’s in situations such as this that the true spirit of the community really comes to the fore and Waikato Police would like to thank all those involved so far.

“At this point it is not clear if all of the persons in the boat were wearing life jackets at the time it overturned but it understood life jackets were being carried aboard the vessel.”

News from NZ Police 9.46pm January 28
Emergency services are searching the area around Bowentown Heads at the northern entrance to the Tauranga Harbour for a 52 year old man missing after his pleasure craft capsized.

The vessel overturned at about 5 pm, however the alarm was not raised for several hours, when a passing boat located the overturned vessel with four children clinging to it.

The children were taken ashore and are uninjured. There has been no sign of the man who was in the boat with them.

The Westpac Rescue helicopter is conducting an aerial search of the area, and ground parties are seraching the coastline around Bowentown Heads and Matakana Island.

 

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