False alarm provokes warning

By Corey Charlton


A diver reported to be missing was found safe and sound yesterday only after Coastguard Hawke's Bay was called into action and an air patrol team put on standby.

A distress call was sent out about 9am with reports of a missing diver after the man's girlfriend on board had drifted away from the spot where he had dived before issuing a distress call.

There was confusion initially when reports put the vessel at a place supposedly called "Calm Reef" which was in fact Town Reef located near the port.

However, the 14.6m boat was found, and the woman on board had found the missing diver unharmed.

But instead of informing Coastguard she simply turned the radio off to save battery power.

Duty skipper Glenn McAdam said there was only one diver, they didn't put a buoy into the water to indicate where the diver had submerged, and the woman was only equipped with a handheld radio that she didn't know how to use.

It would have been like trying to find a "needle in a haystack" had they needed to do an air search, he said.

In light of the incident, he wanted to encourage women to sign up to the Hawke's Bay Coastguard's new Suddenly in Charge course, designed to teach women the basic skills needed if they find themselves in charge of a vessel at sea due to unexpected circumstances.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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