Boaties at a popular Hawke's Bay beach had a close call with Mother Nature yesterday after a wave sunk their fishing craft.
Three men had launched their boat and were about 50 metres from the beach shortly after 9am when the wave swamped them.
Bystander Philippa Lamb said she was waiting for her own family to pull in their boat.
"I was just sitting and watching for our boat to come in and these guys were going out," she said.
"But they hit a big wave and a flood of water came overboard and sunk them.
"Then the guys bobbed up in the surf and the boat had actually sunk right under, you couldn't see it."
Ms Lamb said nearby surfers came to assist the men, and the boat was eventually towed in by her family's tractor.
The men were not hurt during the incident.