New Zealand boat hits whale and capsizes, at least 2 dead, 3 missing

Two people are reportedly dead and three others missing after a boat collided with a whale in New Zealand and capsized.

News organization Stuff reported that two people were killed in the crash on Saturday morning near the South Island town of Kaikōura.

Kaikōura Mayor Craig Mackle told The Associated Press he could confirm that 11 people were on board the boat at the time of the accident and that six were safely brought back to shore. He said the boat was a fishing charter vessel and the passengers were likely fishing for cod, grouper and other species.

He said the water was “freaking cold” and the outcome for anyone who fell overboard was probably not good. He said locals were busy helping with the rescue effort but the mood in the city was “somber” as they awaited more news of the missing.

boat capsized
A helicopter flies over an overturned boat with a lone survivor sitting on the hull off the coast of Kaikoura, New Zealand, on Saturday September 10, 2022.

Mackle said the water was dead calm and the assumption was that the whale appeared under the boat and turned it over. He said there were some sperm whales in the area and also some humpback whales, although he doesn’t know what species of whale may have collided with the boat.

He said he has in the past considered the possibility of a boat and whale colliding given the number of whales frequenting the area.

“You always think that something like this could happen,” he said, adding that he hadn’t heard of previous accidents.

rescue team.
Rescuers continue to search for the missing members of the boat.

Police said in a statement they were responding to an incident in which a boat reportedly capsized and they closed a boat ramp to public use. They did not immediately give any further details.

Vanessa Chapman told Stuff that she and a group of friends had been watching the rescue efforts from Goose Bay near Kaikōura. She said when she got to a lookout she could see a person sitting on an overturned boat waving his arms.

She said two rescue helicopters and a third local helicopter circled before two divers jumped out. She told Stuff that the person on the boat was rescued and a second person appeared to have been pulled out of the water.

Kaikōura is a popular whale watching destination. The seabed drops steeply from the shoreline, creating deep waters near shore. A number of companies offer boat trips or helicopter rides to allow tourists to see whales, dolphins and other marine life up close. New Zealand boat hits whale and capsizes, at least 2 dead, 3 missing


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