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Eight cruise ship tourists in kayaks rescued from harbour

News from NZ Police
A group of passengers from the cruise ship Noordam were rescued from Wellington Harbour yesterday afternoon after their kayaking trip went wrong.

The eight tourists were on a guided return kayak trip to Matiu/Somes Island.

The group reached the island in the morning safely. However their return journey was thwarted by a strong head wind.

A Department of Conservation ranger at Matiu/Somes Island called police when he became concerned by the conditions the paddlers were heading into.

He kept the police launch crew up to date with the location of the group as the rescue unfolded.

An elderly man and woman from the group were rescued from the water by officers on the Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV. One was suffering from mild hypothermia and was treated by Police staff before being transferred into the care of medical staff on board the cruise ship.

An outbound Bluebridge ferry was diverted off its course to avoid members of the group as they were being rescued.

The other six members of the kayaking group, who were unfamiliar with the area, were scattered across the main shipping channel, coming ashore at Kau Bay and Mahanga Bay on the Miramar Peninsula. Some capsized as they approached the shore but none of the group required medical treatment.

Senior Constable Paul Curd says the incident was a reminder that everyone taking to the water should check the marine forecast, carry communications and have a backup plan as conditions can change quickly. When heading out it is also important to tell someone about your trip, where you are going and when you will be back.

The incident has been referred to Maritime New Zealand.

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