Pre-Dawn Rescue near Hen and Chicken Islands Saves Three Men

Northland, 22 June 2024 - In the early hours of this morning, a distress call was received by radio operators at Coastguard’s Operations Centre at 3:30am. A vessel near the Hen and Chickens Islands reported taking on water, and shortly after, the skipper announced all three onboard were abandoning their boat.

Coastguard Whangarei volunteers responded immediately, launching rescue vessel 'Circa Rescue’. New Zealand Police also joined the rescue operation, deploying the Eagle helicopter.

At 4:38 am, the Eagle helicopter spotted the vessel and three men in the water, directing the Circa Rescue crew to their location. The men were retrieved from the water and transported to shore at Mangawhai Heads.

Upon arrival at shore, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was on hand to transport two of the men to Whangarei Hospital, while the third was transported by road.

Coastguard spokesperson said, “We’re immensely relieved and grateful that the men were wearing lifejackets, which ensured they gave themselves the best chance of survival in the dark of night and cold water. We want to thank the volunteers who didn’t hesitate to leave the comfort of their homes to help these three men return to their loved ones.”

Coastguard further acknowledges everyone else involved in the rescue efforts including those on shore from Surf and the Mangawhai Fishing Club who opened their club for our crew, helping warm the patients, and providing hot food and drinks.


For more information, contact: 
Kimberley Waters
Communications Manager
[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