Ferry sinks following collision with pleasure boat in Bay of Islands, New Zealand

A passenger ferry sank after it collided with a recreational vessel in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand on Thursday, April 13.

Initial reports said the wooden ferry Waitere and an unnamed pleasure boat collided with each other midway between the towns of Russell and Paihia at around 11:50 local time on Thursday.

The damage suffered by the ferry was so severe that it sank a little over two hours later. Witnesses described the wheelhouse as having “disintegrated” due to the force of the impact.

Naveen Kozhuppakalam, Chief Investigator of Accidents of the country’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC), said the captain of the ferry was seriously injured and is hospitalised as a result of the accident.

At least one passenger on the ferry was reportedly thrown into the water. However, officials confirmed that Waitere‘s captain was the only individual on either vessel who suffered injuries from the collision.

Authorities are still working to identify the events that led to the mishap.

The TAIC is opening an inquiry into the accident by appealing for witnesses who saw, photographed, or took video footage of the two vessels prior to and during the collision.

Mr Kozhuppakalam said the commission will also accept any CCTV footage from businesses or homes that may have video recordings from cameras trained on that part of the bay at that time.

The TAIC has meanwhile appointed a dedicated investigation team of two, who will be travelling to the Bay of Islands as soon as practicable.

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