Coastguard rescues eight in separate overnight incidents

It was a busy night for Coastguard volunteers Thursday, rescuing eight people in two separate incidents overnight.

Just before 7pm, Coastguard Tutukaka responded to an urgent callout following reports of a capsized waka with six people in the water. Already at base for training, Tutukaka skipper Keith McKay and three volunteers responded immediately, launching Tutukaka Rescue for the scene initially reported as Kowharewa Bay. Shortly after, the location was updated to outside the Tutukaka Harbour which was experiencing 25knot winds and increasing swells.

Upon arrival, Coastguard Tutukaka found six people holding onto the waka in the water – all importantly wearing lifejackets. With the waka drifting towards rocks, all six were quickly recovered onto the rescue vessel safe and well and returned to shore.

“We probably only had around 100m to spare before the rocks – it was fortunate that we were able to get to them just 13 minutes of being paged,” Tutukaka skipper Keith McKay said.

“Wearing personal floatation devices and holding onto the waka ensured everyone was okay by the time we arrived on scene.”

Hours later, at 1.44am, Coastguard Operations received a mayday from a 32ft powerboat taking on water near Penguin Shoal off the Bay of Plenty coast. The vessel with two on board, including one in a wheelchair, was also experiencing engine and bilge pump issues.

With six Coastguard Tauranga volunteers responding and on route, the people on board released a flare which was spotted by a nearby tanker. The tanker arrived to assist at 3.13am until TECT Rescue shortly after.

Coastguard transferred both people to TECT Rescue at around 3.30am for a medical check-up but were otherwise safe and well. Coastguard Operations remained on the radio with the pair throughout, supporting them and providing updates on Coastguard Tauranga’s arrival.

Fantastic work from Coastguard Tutukaka and Tauranga volunteers highlighting the dedication and readiness of those who give up their own time to save lives at sea. Regardless of the time of day, Coastguard volunteers continue to respond to the needs of others and do what they can to return people home safely to their families.

For more information, contact:
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor
[email protected]

Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity