Four dead, one missing after New Zealand fishing boat sinks in bad weather | New Zealand

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A fishing trip in New Zealand ended in tragedy, with four dead and one passenger still missing after their boat sank in bad weather.

The rescue operation began on Sunday evening after a chartered fishing vessel activated a distress beacon off the North Island’s North Cape. A helicopter was first on the scene at the remote location, arriving around 11:40 p.m., but by 2:30 a.m. the boat had sunk.

Search and rescue teams winched five people to safety and transported them to Kaitāia Hospital, but five passengers are still missing. Rescue operations were hampered by thunderstorms, swells and torrential downpours that battered the area overnight, Maritime New Zealand spokesman Nick Burt said. RNZ.

Two bodies were picked up by a rescue helicopter on Monday morning, and two others recovered by lifeboats, police said.

Rescue teams in the air, on the water and on land were still searching for the last missing passenger, in an area covering around 300 square nautical miles. The defense force sent an Orion aircraft and the navy ship HMNZS Taupō to assist the effort.

“This is a major rescue operation, with a number of agencies working together in the search,” Burt said.

“Weather conditions are more favorable today and we are fully focused on finding and rescuing the two missing people.”

Winds in the area on Sunday afternoon were reported to have reached around 65 km / h before easing late in the evening, while waves reached 2.5 meters, said MetService meteorologist David Miller. Thing.

The New Zealand Herald reported the boat was an Enchanter Fishing Charters vessel named Enchanter – a 17m long vessel designed to operate off New Zealand waters. The company was established in 1995.

The charter boat set out from its base at Mangonui in the Far North for a five-day fishing trip, the Herald said, and it is understood the skipper, a crew member and a group from Auckland were on board.

Iwi leader Penetaui Kleskovic said the herald it was “a dark day for the community of the peninsula”.

“Condolences and thoughts with all whānau [family] affected.”

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