News from NZ Police
Three Palmerston North men were rescued this evening off Akitio Beach, 85 kilometres southeast of Dannevirke. The men, in wetsuits, went diving from an inflatable craft with a small outboard motor. The motor seized while they were diving and the boat went adrift.
Another man known to the men was on shore at the time and had brief visual communication with the men on board and was able to alert Police at 4:30pm. But it wasn’t long before the inflatable craft was out of sight to those onshore.
The men had no anchor, life jackets, radios, cellphones, or locator beacons on board.
Police mounted a search and received support from a helicopter and some local fishing vessels which were deployed at 4:45pm. One of the local search vessels located the inflatable with all three men on board at 5:15pm. The inflatable had drifted five kilometres out to sea. None of the men was injured. Very strong north westerly winds could have carried the inflatable a long way further out to sea.
“Water safety is crucial and needs to be strongly considered before participating in any water activities,” said Central District Operations Manager Inspector David White. “Your family, friends, and Police want you home safely at the end of the day. Don’t put yours or your mates lives at risk, remember to take responsibility and take lifesaving equipment such as life jackets, a radio, and safety beacons on board when you’re out on the water”.