Sunday, February 08, 2009

Lucky fishermen from Riverton, NZ

While we are still enjoying Sunday evening in eastern US, New Zealand is already Monday. Here's a freaque wave news from Southland Times there, reported by Shane Cowlishaw on Feb. 9, 2009:

Five fishermen took an extended dip yesterday afternoon when a rogue wave flipped their boat off the Riverton coast.

Tim Brewster, Glen Blasby, Wes Cooper, Rodger Findlay and Pete Menlove were fishing at "The Reef", about 16km off the coast, at 11am when a freak wave swamped their boat and capsized the 6.5-metre Stabicraft boat.

Luckily the men were all wearing lifejackets and clung to a rope on the bottom of the craft for an hour and a half before being rescued by a nearby commercial charter vessel, Charisma.

Some details follow:

Mr Brewster said the boat was equipped with an emergency beacon and flares but they were trapped in the cabin underwater.

The men tried several times to dive down and recover the equipment but were unable to enter the cabin, he said.

The wave had taken everyone by surprise, Mr Brewster said.

"There must have been an undercurrent and a rogue wave just came up and swamped the boat," he said.

"We just knew we had to contact someone, wave someone down."

Three boats passed by in the distance before the Charisma arrived, unable to see the men despite frantic waves and shouts.

Riverton Coastguard skipper Noel Anderson said Charisma's skipper Robbie Wallace initially thought the capsized boat was men in kayaks before realising what had happened.

Mr Wallace took the men on board before the coastguard transported them back to land, Mr Anderson said.

Riverton is in the south end of New Zealand. There are at least 5 happy families celebrating the return of their love ones. This blog always advocates the use of lifejackets, now this happy ending story shows solid proof for that!

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