Five fishermen rescued near Kawau Island after boat capsizes

A boatload of fishermen are lucky to be alive tonight after they were thrown overboard near Kawau Island and swept away in rough 2m waves and high winds.

NZ Coastguard Kawau skipper Luke McCarthy says his staff are “ecstatic” with the result of the dangerous rescue after receiving an SOS call from a fishing boat shortly after 11am today.

The group of five fishermen had earlier anchored off Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf about 45km north of Auckland when the 6m vessel began taking on water.

Within seconds the boat began listing and capsized – throwing the men into the sea.

The vessel’s captain managed to stay with the capsized boat as the four others were carried away.

The captain then swam under the water to set off the boat’s SOS device and resurface to raise the alarm.

Volunteers on board the Coastguard Kawau then set out to the scene of the accident at 11.10am, finding the skipper sitting on the hull of the boat.

After the skipper quickly explained his four shipmates were lost in the water, the Coastguard Kawau departed from the capsized boat to search.

Within minutes they found one of the missing fishermen on the rocks of Kawau Island.

Given that he was safe and happy for the time being the Coastguard vessel went searching for the remaining three men.

“Shortly after, volunteers sighted the three other fishermen in the water who were exhausted and extremely cold,” Coastguard NZ said in a statement.

The trio were recovered from the water and attended to as the vessel made its way back to the other fisheman who was swept overboard but had managed to swim to safety on the rocks.

By 11.33am, all fivehad been rescued and were on board the Coastguard Kawau vessel on its way to Sandspit to meet ambulance crews.

The men were suffering from suspected hypothermia, with onein a Status 2 condition.

Once safely on shore, they were assessed by ambulance crew and transported to hospital.

Coastguard Kawau skipper Luke McCarthy commended the group on the measures they took to keep themselves safe.

“For rough conditions, close to 2m waves and in 25 knot winds, they are tremendously lucky,” McCarthy said.

“They were all wearing lifejackets, had safety equipment on board and the skipper did a fantastic job in helping us locate his mates. This rescue had an extremely good outcome and my crew are ecstatic with the result.”

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