A man died and another was hurled off his jetski in an explosion in separate jetski fishing incidents over the weekend, but a leading figure in the jetski fishing community says it's a safe hobby.

The body of a 61-year-old jetski fisherman was found floating in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf yesterday after he went missing on Saturday night.

The Auckland man notified Coastguard at 2.30pm on Saturday when he set off from Half Moon Bay for a day of fishing. His wife raised the alarm at 8.30pm when he didn't return

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from his trip.Waikato police chase ends dramatically in Tauranga


His jetski was found overnight Saturday, anchored, with a fishing line out.

Police said a local boatie found a body floating in the water between Waiheke and Motuihe islands about midday yesterday.

Police said the body was identified as the missing jetski fisherman, who had been wearing a lifejacket.

Kirk Davis, who hosts jetski fishing show Fishy Business on TVNZ, said jetski fishing was more popular in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world.

He said he had never had an accident on the jetski, and had never heard of any injuries or accidents before.

"It's a really safe sport, jetskis are very stable. You can stand on the side of a jetski and it doesn't tip. You hear of people drowning fishing in little boats quite a lot."

Jetski fishing had been around in New Zealand for about ten years, Mr Davis said, and people who do it are usually former boaties with a lot of experience on the water.

"It's the ease of launching by yourself, they're very light, quick to wash down, and you can fish where boats can't go sometimes," he said.


"It's a lot of fun and you can get some big fish."

He said he didn't know the circumstances around the Aucklander's death, but understood the man had done everything right in terms of preparations for a day jetski fishing.

"What people don't understand is that if you fall in the water in a place where there's strong currents, you can quickly get separated from your ski, from your boat, from whatever you've anchored."

The man's death was an "absolute tragedy", Coastguard spokeswoman Georgie Smith said.

"But, there is some closure in bringing him home to his family," she said.

New Zealand Jetski Fishing Club president Andrew Hill said a big group of people joined the search for the man.

"We were only just one of the many assisting with the search."

He said the man had the "best intentions" and took safety precautions, including operating a VHF radio and lodging a trip report.

Meanwhile, in a second incident, a jetski fisherman was blasted into the Kaituna River, east of Tauranga, in a spectacular explosion yesterday afternoon.

Nothing was left of the front hatch of the jetski from yesterday's explosion on the Kaituna River.
Nothing was left of the front hatch of the jetski from yesterday's explosion on the Kaituna River.

Petrol fumes from fuel that had leaked into the hull of the jetski were understood to have been ignited by a spark when the rider turned on the engine.

It blew off the seat and engine cover, hurling the man into the water, where he was quickly retrieved by bystanders and a friend who had been parking the jetski trailer.

The Rotorua man, in his early 20s, was treated for possible concussion and a back injury before being taken by ambulance to Tauranga Hospital for observation.

Maketu Fire Brigade chief fire officer Shane Beech said the jetski was being launched for an afternoon's fishing about 1pm.

The explosion took place at the boat ramp in about 1.5m of water, a few hundred metres from the river mouth.

Bystanders told Mr Beech they heard the sound of the jetski being fired up and then the boom of an explosion.

"He turned on the key and boom, it exploded," Mr Beech said

"He lived to tell the tale."

The explosion blew the fire out, Mr Beech said.

- Additional reporting from John Cousins of the Bay of Plenty Times