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Coastguard response to tragedy on Kaipara Harbour

Media Statement

At 1402 hours yesterday fishing charter vessel Francie, lodged a Bar Crossing Report with Coastguard Radio, stating they were inbound across the Kaipara Bar with 11 people on-board and requested a 60 minute watch.

The alarm was sounded in the Coastguard Northern Region Operations Centre at 1302 hours when the Bar Crossing Report expired and attempts to contact Francie via VHF Marine Radio and mobile were unsuccessful, in addition local boats were unable to sight a vessel on the bar.

Coastguard Northern Region Operations Centre then coordinated a response to the incident over the next six hours, working with Police and other emergency services. Coastguard Air Patrol and rescue vessel Winstone Rescue from Coastguard Kaipara were immediately activated. The search area which was initially the Kaipara entrance and bar area and then progressed south based on conditions.

Coastguard Rescue Vessel Skipper Iain Guilford described the sea conditions as trying with huge standing waves in excess of four metres, this brought the Coastguard volunteers training to the fore in challenging circumstances. “It’s never easy being part of an incident where you can’t bring people home to their families. Our thoughts are with everyone involved.”

© Scoop Media

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