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Two rescued after dinghy sinks in Wellington Harbour

Two rescued after dinghy sinks in Wellington Harbour

Two boaties had a lucky escape after their dinghy sank in rough seas in Wellington Harbour this afternoon.

Police received a 111 call from one of the two male occupants about 12.35 pm reporting that their 4 metre long aluminium dinghy was taking on water near Steeple Rock, Seatoun.

The pair, who had a dog on board, had been rowing their boat, which had no motor, out to the rock to do some fishing but had realised that the weather and sea conditions were too dangerous and had tried to turn back to shore but had been hit by high waves and the boat began to sink.

The Police Maritime launch was directed to the location and a broadcast was put out by Maritime radio for any boaties in the area to assist. As an added precaution the Westpac helicopter was put on standby. However before the Police launch could arrive reports started to come in from members of the public that the boat had sunk and both persons were in the water. The helicopter was immediately put in the air but the police launch was fortunately on scene shortly after and was able to pull the males and dog from the water.

Both persons were checked out by ambulance but did not require any further treatment. It is reported by Maritime Police that they had been in the water for an estimated 15 minutes during which time the prevailing wind had pushed them further out into the harbour. Had they not been able to call police or be seen by anyone on shore they may have been afloat for some time in conditions that were described as very cold and steadily getting rougher.

Concerns have been raised that the pair decided to go out in clearly inclement conditions at all, and with only oars as a means of propulsion. While both were wearing lifejackets at the time they were rescued one of the pair had failed to do his up and once in the water was too cold to do so. Had he slipped out of it he would have been in very serious trouble because of the clothes he was wearing.

It is a timely reminder to all people venturing out on to the water to be mindful of your own and your boats limitations and take all reasonable and sensible precautions at all times.


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