Team rescue effort saves two troubled boaties

Wellington

Please attribute to Sergeant Richard Kennedy, Police Maritime Unit Supervisor:

At around 5:40pm tonight Police received a call from a man reporting he and his friend were having motor difficulties with their boat off Wellington’s south coast.

The call taker soon established the pair were drifting in their eight and a half foot dinghy approximately 100 metres from the shore at Red Rocks.

Cell phone contact with Police was then lost, and their exact location was unable to be confirmed.

The Police Maritime Unit immediately responded to the call for help but were unable to locate the pair in their initial search from Sinclair Head to Owhiro Bay.

By this stage we were really concerned for their safety, there was a very strong offshore wind making conditions challenging and there was a real possibility that they may have capsized.

We called in the help of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Coastguard and Airport Marine Rescue and began making plans to begin a second search phase.

The pair, in their boat, had been blown towards the outer most rocks at Sinclair Head approximately 300 metres from the mainland.

They managed to scramble up the rocks and drag their dinghy up with them.

Luckily, one of the men had a cell phone in a plastic bag that he had managed to keep dry and Police Communications then managed to make contact with him for a second time.

By approximately 6:40pm the Police Maritime Unit had sighted the pair standing on the rocks at Sinclair Head.

It was too dangerous to rescue the men by boat, so Police directed the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to their location.

Despite the trying conditions, within half an hour both of the men had been winched off the rocks to safety in a fantastic effort from the rescue helicopter crew.

The two men were cold and wet but received no injuries.

This was a great result and the men were incredibly lucky they made it onto the rocks as finding them in the water could have been extremely difficult in rough conditions.

Despite being divers and wearing wetsuits, the men were also equipped with lifejackets and were wearing them, which was great to see.

Police would like to thank the other agencies and members of the public who assisted during this rescue operation.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

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