Winch rescue after shipwreck on rocks

By Eileen Goodwin, Hamish McNeilly

An injured fisherman is winched aboard the Otago Regional Rescue helicopter after the vessel he was in drifted aground. Photo / APN
An injured fisherman is winched aboard the Otago Regional Rescue helicopter after the vessel he was in drifted aground. Photo / APN

An injured man was winched to safety after the boat he was in became wrecked on rocks near St Clair, in Dunedin, on Saturday.

Three men on board the vessel, O'Bay, were taking part in the Brighton Club annual fishing competition when the 5m alloy drifted aground after its main and auxiliary motors failed.

Skipper Don MacDonald, of Brighton, said both engines had been checked before the vessel entered the water.

The Dunedin man injured his ankle when leaving the vessel, which washed up between St Clair and Tunnel Beach, and he was winched to safety on board the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter and taken to Dunedin Hospital.

One of the trio, Sam Thomson, of Hawkes Bay, was diving for paua and was unaware of what had happened to his friends until he was picked up by an inflatable rescue boat from the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club.

Marine search and rescue adviser Rowan Leck said he received the call about 4pm from Otago Maritime Radio.

Initially, the men had tried to call for help on a cellphone but had no coverage so they used their radio.

Mr Leck said the men got on to the shore directly from the vessel, which they attempted to tie up, but over night "a bit of a blow came through and put it right on top of the shore".

In another incident, people were fishing near Taiaroa Head yesterday when their vessel's engine failed and they issued a mayday call.

A nearby boat was able to tow it back to Port Chalmers.

Mr Leck said in both cases, radio communication with the two boats which had broken down near shore presented difficulties.

- Otago Daily Times

- Otago Daily Times

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