Seven dead and one miss­ing af­ter boat­ing ac­ci­dent in New Zealand

Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­

Auck­land: Seven peo­ple are dead and an­other is miss­ing af­ter a fish­ing boat cap­sized near Auck­land in New Zealand. The Fran­cie char­ter boat cap­sized mid-after­noon on Satur­day in the Kaipara har­bour, north-west of Auck­land, ac­cord­ing to New Zealand Po­lice. An emer­gency res­cue mis­sion was un­der­way by 3.30pm, in­volv­ing Po­lice, search and res­cue ser­vices and lo­cal surf life-sav­ing teams from nearby Muri­wai beach.

The Fran­cie, a 12-me­tre-ves­sel that was car­ry­ing 11 peo­ple, got into dif­fi­cul­ties while at­tempt­ing to cross a treach­er­ous sand bar in the Kaipara Har­bour. Three peo­ple were res­cued from the wa­ter by the West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter, and Po­lice con­firmed they are now in hos­pi­tal, though could not com­ment on their sta­tus. Wit­nesses told Tele­vi­sion New Zealand that res­cuers in he­li­copters plucked the sur­vivors from the wa­ter and placed them on a beach, where lo­cals kept them warm un­til ambulances ar­rived. Dur­ing search and res­cue ef­forts last night five bod­ies were re­cov­ered, and an­other two bod­ies were found in the early hours of this morn­ing washed up on lo­cal beaches, Po­lice said.

All are be­lieved to have been pas­sen­gers on­board the sunken Fran­cie, the de­bris of which has be­gun wash­ing up on­shore. A search be­gan at 7am for the fi­nal pas­sen­ger of the Fran­cie, miss­ing since the cap­siz­ing, and now in the wa­ter for more than 18 hours. The fate of the skip­per and owner of the boat, Bill McNatty, is un­known. Lo­cal Kaipara man and char­ter boat op­er­a­tor Tony Walles said he heard a call from McNatty on the VFX ra­dio about 2.30pm on Satur­day, say­ing he was at­tempt­ing to cross the bar and he ex­pected it would take one hour.

Walles said sea con­di­tions at the time were rough, and get­ting pro­gres­sively worse, with sea swells ris­ing to 3-4 me­tres.

None of the other five boats in the har­bour at­tempted the cross­ing, he said.

“I am feel­ing very sad for the peo­ple who have de­parted.” The Guardian

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