Wellington Scoop

Four paua divers safe after runabout capsizes south-west of White Rock

News from NZ Police
An aluminum pontoon runabout overturned near Te Rakauwhakamataku Point, approximately 3 km south-west of White Rock, yesterday morning.

The capsize happened between Ngapotiki and Cape Palliser at the southern tip of the North Island, an area which is generally uninhabited and isolated. The boat was at anchor (with one set at the front and rear) and about 100 meters off shore while the occupants were diving for paua.

The boat is a commercial paua boat and all four divers were in the water when the boat tipped over. The wind conditions were described as being about 25kph inshore with stronger gusts.

The owner of the boat believes the rear anchor rope may have tangled about the outboard this and helped lever the boat over in a wind gust. None of the divers were at risk as they were close to shore.

Farm workers at Ngapotiki station saw what had taken place and emergency services were informed. A broadcast on the local marine channel resulted in four boats responding.

The divers were amazed at the quick response time of the four commercial boats that came to their assistance – as they thought nobody would have been aware of the event. Their boat was recovered to the beach at White Rock with little equipment loss.

A helicopter had also been tasked to respond but wind conditions at Wellington prevented deployment.