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Two in Hospital after Opunake fishing Boat Capsizes

Two in hospital after Opunake fishing boat capsizes

Two people have been flown to Taranaki Hospital in New Plymouth this morning after a fishing boat capsized off Opunake plunging the six people on board into the sea.

One man is being treated for cuts and bruises after being caught on rocks and a second man for water inhalation. Their names and conditions have not yet been released.

Four others who were on board the privately owned 7.5m craft are now safely ashore although distressed by their ordeal.

The incident happened about 10am and all were safely ashore by 11.30am.

Constable Danny Giles, Opunake Police, said that it appears six local residents - four men and two women - all in their 30s and 40s, went fishing early this morning. Of concern to police is that none of the six were wearing life jackets.

The group decided to dive for a crayfish near Shag's Point as one of the men on board was wearing a wetsuit. As the boat near Shag's Point it was capsized by a wave and the group flung into four metres of water.

"The guy who had intended to go diving ended up swimming about 200m through a heavy swell to the beach. He then had to run across farmland to a highway where he flagged down a passing motorist.

"Police were notified by cellphone and then the motorist brought the diver to Opunake Police Station."

Police, the Opunake Surf Lifesaving Club's IRB, the New Plymouth rescue chopper and two other fishing boats from Middleton's Ramp, Opunake, responded where they found the stricken craft had drifted about 1km south and was hooked on rocks at the mouth of the Waiteika Stream.

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The other five people on board had managed to get ashore, some with the help of police and members of the public.

"The diver who raised the alarm had to swim through an increasingly heavy swell. He did an excellent job in the circumstances but this episode stresses the importance of wearing lifejackets and checking weather conditions before heading out to sea."

Constable Giles said the two injured men have been flown to Taranaki Hospital as a precautionary measure.

The boat has not yet been recovered.

ENDS

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