A 54-year-old man died in the sea south of Auckland yesterday as he tried to swim back to shore when the boat he was on ran out of fuel.

Early yesterday morning, a small fishing boat with several occupants launched from Kawakawa Bay in the south of Auckland heading towards Ponui Island, police said.

After some distance away from the ramp, the boat then headed back to shore due to heavy seas.

The boat ran out of gas at about 70 metres from the ramp at which time one of the men on board jumped into the water in an effort to swim ashore.


Although he had a lifejacket on, he was seen by some neighbours and bystanders to be struggling, police said.

Several people on shore saw him and swam out in a bid to bring him ashore, however by then he has been in the water for up to 15 minutes and was deceased.

When ashore, his death was confirmed by ambulance staff.