Thursday, September 04, 2008

Caused by a freaque set of waves

This news from the Bay of Plenty Times, the newspaper of Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand, entitled "Chopper rescues man after boat tips" by Vicki Waterhouse. Here's the essence of the story:

The skipper of a Coastguard boat nearly drowned yesterday after a rogue set of waves overturned the boat when it suddenly lost power.

And here's what happened:

Waihi Beach Coastguard spokesman Noel Haszard said the skipper was sent out to help with communication difficulties between headquarters and the crew on the beach, which was trying to recover the beacon.

The man was driving a Waihi Beach Coastguard jet boat when he saw the waves approaching.

"Four in a row hit him, the first wave hit the vessel and he went over the top of it and then ... he lost power for some reason."

"With a jet boat once you lose power you're history, so it rolled him, and it was all over from there."

The skipper managed to trigger the boat's EPERB (Emergency Personal Beacon), which he spotted in the water.

"We lost the boat but we didn't lose the skipper and that's the important thing," Mr Haszard said.

I am impressed by the detail reporting on what happened and the reporter's use of "a rogue set of waves" rather than just rogue waves. It gave us a clear description of the event without wondering was it or was it not a freaque wave. As a matter of fact the skipper saw the waves approaching -- four in a row hit him!

We are certainly not wish to experience what the skipper experienced. But we are also not surprised by what had happened to him. We don't know how or why or when the things happen, but it did happen somehwere, sometime, and somehow -- this time in the coastal area of Bay of Plenty.

I tend to call the event " nearshore freaque waves." But a "freaque set of waves" might even be better. Either way, there are more than plenty needed for us to learn!

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