Fifth body found after sinking fishing boat

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A fifth person has been found dead following the sinking of the chartered fishing vessel Enchanter off the North Cape on Sunday evening.

It is understood the person was found inside the hull, which members of the dive team assessed this afternoon after the vessel was discovered yesterday.

Ten people were on board when the Enchanting sank in rough seas around 11 p.m. Sunday. A large wave reportedly hit the boat near Murimotu Island, breaking the bridge.

Five, including the ship’s captain Lance Goodhew, were rescued by the Northland Emergency Rescue Helicopter.

Four bodies had been recovered by nightfall yesterday. A large-scale air and sea search continued today until the fifth was found.

Among those who died were Richard Bright (63) and his companion Mike Lovett (72), who had packed their car on Wednesday morning and headed to Mangōnui to join the five-day fishing charter.

Longtime friend Rick Williams met Bright for a beer at his bar, the Group One Turf Bar, on Tuesday night just before leaving, and also saw Lovett, who worked at his Thoroughbred stud.

It was the second time the couple had gone on a fishing charter to Les Trois Rois.

“They had been there once and it was Richard’s wish to catch a marlin. He had none. He had caught all the other forms of fish so he went back this year to go and get a marlin.”

Yesterday was a difficult day for the stud manager after losing three friends – Bright, Lovett and Mark Sanders, a 43-year-old father of three and builder of Te Awamutu – in the ocean. Two other Cambridge men are also reported missing or dead.

“It was just an incredibly bad day. I’m not even family and I feel terrible.”

He described Bright as ‘sympathetic’ and said his death was a terrible loss not only to his friends and family, but also to the wider Cambridge community to which he gave a lot of money through from his bar.

Gael Sanders, Mark’s mother, said she heard around 8am on Monday that something had happened.

“He had spoken to his family around 6 p.m. [Sunday] night. He has a wife and three children and was having such a wonderful and happy time. He had caught some amazing fish and it was the best time of his life.”

The 43-year-old father loved fishing and often fished with his father in Kawhia, Gael said.

“He loved his peach so much,” she said.

“The only good thing is we’re so happy they found his body. It’s very special. I hate to think about him alone. Six o’clock last night when he spoke to his family and he spoke to the three kids and his wife, he was so happy and it was just amazing.”

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