7 Dead, 1 Missing in New Zealand Fishing Boat Accident

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
November 26, 2016 Updated: November 26, 2016

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—Seven people were killed and another person was missing in a boating accident near Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, police said.

Inspector Duncan Hall said the chartered fishing boat Francie was carrying 11 people when it got into trouble in Kaipara Harbour near Auckland. He said rescuers managed to pull three survivors from the water, who were taken to a local hospital.

He said rescuers also recovered five bodies from the water soon after the accident. Another two bodies washed ashore at nearby beaches and were found early Sunday.

Hall said in a statement that the fishing boat was reported as overdue to emergency services at 3:30 p.m. Police were still trying to establish what happened to the boat and how its occupants ended up in the water. Hall said conditions on Saturday were poor, with large sea swells.

An air search for the missing person was suspended overnight and resumed on Sunday in the harbor, which is about 75 kilometers (47 miles) northwest of Auckland.

Eyewitnesses told Television New Zealand that rescuers in helicopters plucked the survivors from the water and placed them on a beach, where locals kept them warm until ambulances arrived.

The TV station reported that the accident happened at the entrance to the harbor, an area which is notorious for producing treacherous conditions for boats.

The Facebook page for Francie Charters says its boat Francie is licensed to carry up to 20 people with two crew members. It shows customers using lines to catch snapper and other fish, and encountering dolphins.