Tuesday, 17 March 2009 - 7:48am |

Boating tragedy claims two lives of Manawatu coast

2 min read

At about 9.33pm on Monday evening, 16 March 2009, police were alerted to an overdue boat off the Manawatu coast.

A vehicle and boat trailer were noticed on the beach about 2½km south of Waitarere township.

Enquiries with the registered owner's next of kin established that the two male occupants in their 50's, were overdue from a fishing trip that day.

A full scale search and rescue operation was launched involving four vessels from the Manawatu Volunteer Coastguard, two vessels from Kapiti and Waikanae Volunteer Coastguards and one vessel from Wanganui Volunteer Coastguard.

In addition, aircraft consisting of the Westpac Life Flight Trust from Wellington (fitted with night vision goggles - NVGs, forward looking infrared - FLIR and nightsun), an RNZAF Iroquois Helicopter fitted with nightsun and NVGs, and a twin engined specialist search aircraft from Taupo, fitted with surface radar, NVGs and FLIR were deployed into a search area south of Waitarere.

At 1.32am the missing vessel, a 14.6 ft Fryan was located about 4½km off the coast by Hokio Beach.

The vessel was located with the tip of its bow protruding from the water and later sunk.

Other search vessels were then directed to the area and at 2.12am the RNZAF Iroquois Helicopter located the body of one of the men.

At 2.33am the Iroquois located the second male victim.

The names of the deceased will be released at a later time as next of kin are still being notified.

We can advise that both males reside in Levin and are aged 55 and 51 years respectively.

A Coroner's inquest and Maritime investigation will be undertaken.

Approximately 47 personnel were involved in this search operation consisting of about 39 deployed on either vessels or aircraft, the remainder in search management.

The RCCNZ (Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand) and the MOC (Marine Operation Centre) assisted Police throughout the search in terms of all stations broadcasts and search datum planning.

Efforts will be made over the next few days to locate the sunken boat in an effort to establish the cause of the mishap.

It is believed the vessel carried a VHF Marine Radio and flares but no EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Beacon).

Media enquiries should be referred to Sgt Bill Nicholson, SAR Coordinator, Central Police District on 027 238 6344.