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Missing boat and passengers located

New Zealand Police Alert 1:20pm 30 Dec 2008 Bay of Plenty

Location of incident: Maketu, Bay of Plenty.

Incident type: Missing boat and passengers located.

30 December 2008

1.20 p.m.

The TECT Rescue Helicopter from Tauranga has located the missing vessel 'WAIT N SEA' 3km west of Motiti Island.

All five occupants were on board and are in good health.

Four of the occupants were winched off the boat onto the Sirkorsky rescue helicopter which had flown down from Whangarei.

The skipper remained with his vessel and, after being supplied fuel by a Coast Guard vessel, has been escorted back to the Tauranga Harbour.

The vessel set off from the Kaituna Cut at Maketu on a planned trip to Plate Island on Monday morning, 29 December. The vessel was due back at lunchtime, however at that time a family member received a text from one of the occupants of the boat to the effect that they were lost in appalling conditions with poor visibility and rough seas, those conditions deteriorating throughout the afternoon which hampered the rescue effort.

The search has been an excellent success given the assistance of Whakatane, Opotiki, Tauranga coastguards, Maketu and Pukehina Sea Rescue, all the Western Bay of Plenty Surf Life Clubs who made a search of all beaches from Mount Maunganui to Matata.

The search was later controlled by the RCCNZ, due to the size of the search and the need for assistance of the Airforce.

At its peak, the search was assisted by the Airforce who had an Orion searching last night.

Coastguard resources were stretched to its limits yesterday as they also dealt with a Mayday call from a 53' vessel taking on water off the coast of Waihi Beach.

This emergency was attended by Whangamata and Waihi Beach Coastguard vessels.

Craig MADDEN

Sergeant WBOP SAR

Issued By: Inspector William Taylor

ENDS

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