Press Release – Maritime New Zealand
The search for the 13-year-old missing after a boating incident in Kawakawa Bay off Auckland again highlights the importance of simple safety preparations when boating.
Four people were aboard a 4m runabout when it capsized at around noon yesterday, but the alarm was not raised until midnight and three men were not found until eight hours later. A 13-year-old boy remains missing.
MNZ Deputy Director Lindsay Sturt said it appears the group had no means of communication and were not wearing lifejackets.
The incident contrasts with two other incidents in the last week:
• Yesterday, a 4.5m dinghy capsized near Kaikoura but both men aboard were wearing lifejackets.
One clung to the hull and was rescued shortly after by a nearby fishing boat; the other swam 250m to shore.
• Last Friday, four men aboard a 6m vessel that sank in minutes of the mouth off the Taieri River, in Otago, were rescued in little more than an hour after making a radio distress call – all four were wearing lifejackets and stayed together in the water.
“We sympathise with the family in what is an extremely difficult time, and we are hoping for a positive outcome to the search, but it appears this situation could so easily have been avoided,” Mr Sturt said.
“These men were not wearing lifejackets and it appears they had no means of raising the alarm when they got into trouble – that means they spent 12 hours in the water even before a search began, in the middle of the night.
“We hear of rescues every week from around the country and almost, without exception, when people take simple steps to prepare for boating trips, the outcomes are positive.”