Wellington Scoop

Two rescued from sea off Ocean Beach; search finds divers overdue off Kapiti


Press Release – Life Flight Trust
A Life Flight team rescued two men from the sea off of Ocean Beach on the South Wairarapa coast yesterday morning.

Life Flight responded with a Wellington Free Ambulance Paramedic onboard the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Police notified us that the two men had been in a boat which capsized and were now being swept out to sea. The men were reported to have a marine radio with them.


As the helicopter approached the search area, the men in the water called the helicopter on their portable marine radio and were able to talk the helicopter into their location. Both men were wearing wetsuits and were clinging to some floating bits from their boat.

Our rescue swimmer was lowered into the sea and then accompanied each man they were winched into the helicopter, one at a time.

The helicopter landed on nearby Ocean Beach where our paramedic assessed them.

“Good safety equipment including a portable radio and wetsuits certainly helped these guys” says Life Flight Crewman Julian Burn. “The nearest boat was still quite a way out so these guys were pretty lucky we got there as quickly as we did”.

Other than being slightly hypothermic both Upper Hutt men were OK and did not require hospitalisation. They were left in the care of police and relatives on the beach.

Just before 1pm yesterday, Life Flight was dispatched to the Kapiti Island area where three divers were reported overdue. Our Westpac Rescue Helicopter, a Coastguard fixed wing plane, several Coastguard boats, Surf Live Saving IRBs and several private boats searched a wide area near the southern end of Kapiti Island.

The men were located by some of the search vessels and did not require any medical attention so the helicopter was stood down and returned to base.

Photos from www.lifeflight.org.nz

News from NZ Police – March 30
Police, Coast Guard, Surf Life Saving, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and three commercial vessels all joined in the two hour long search for the three divers. The trio were part of a dive party of five and were located three nautical miles from their dive location off the southern end of Kapiti Island by one of three Coast Guard vessels launched as part of the search.

Inspector Simon Perry says “I want to praise the cooperation and fast actions of everyone that responded as part of the operation. An extensive search was underway as soon as the divers were reported as overdue.

“The group was well prepared and equipped and it looks like they were caught by the outward tide.

“Police are pleased with the outcome and that they were able to be quickly located within the search area.

“Divers who are using this area need to maintain their situational awareness and ensure they keep their support vessel within sight”.