Girl, 13, dies after capsize in rough sea

By Helena de Reus

Teen boating with dad in South Otago wore lifejacket
but efforts to revive her failed

A rescue helicopter joined in the search for the teenager, who was found on the shore half an hour after her boat capsized in rough seas. Photo / Otago Daily Times
A rescue helicopter joined in the search for the teenager, who was found on the shore half an hour after her boat capsized in rough seas. Photo / Otago Daily Times

The death of a 13-year-old girl after a boat capsized in rough weather in South Otago yesterday afternoon has left the community in shock.

The girl and her 48-year-old father, both from Balclutha, were with a 13-year-old male friend.

The trio, believed to be on a fishing trip, headed towards Surat Bay east of Owaka early yesterday afternoon on a 12ft (3.66m) aluminium boat.

Police said about 300m from the shore the engine started to fail and cut out. The boat became swamped before capsizing about 1.30pm.

Acting Sergeant Steve Griffiths, of Balclutha, said the man and the teenage boy made it to shore, and the teenage girl was reported as missing.

All three were wearing life jackets, Mr Griffiths said.

The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter helped to search for the girl, who was found on the shore about half an hour later.

Mr Griffiths said CPR was carried out but the girl could not be revived.

It was windy at the time of the accident and people described the conditions as rough.

A small crowd of holidaymakers and locals quietly watched the rescue operation from the beach and the nearby settlement of Newhaven.

Mr Griffiths said he wished to thank those who helped.

About six police officers, the Owaka Volunteer Fire Brigade, Catlins Marine Search and Rescue and St John staff from Owaka and Balclutha joined in the rescue effort.

- Otago Daily Times

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