Four people are confirmed dead while a fifth has gone missing after a charter fishing vessel sank in bad weather off North Island, New Zealand, on Sunday, March 20.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and other partner organisations deployed marine and air assets to the waters off North Cape shortly after the distressed vessel’s emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was activated at around 20:00 local time on Sunday.
A rescue helicopter was the first to arrive on-scene. However, the deteriorating weather and poor visibility meant the helicopter did not reach the boat’s location until 23:40, nearly four hours after the EPIRB was activated.
Maritime New Zealand said five survivors were picked up out of the water and have since been brought to hospital. They are reported to be in stable condition.
The fishing vessel slipped beneath the waves at around 02:30 on Monday, March 21.
Maritime NZ reported on Monday that three bodies have been located and recovered from the same waters while local media quoted a police official as saying that a fourth body has also been found.
All four deceased individuals have been identified as passengers on the ill-fated vessel, which is owned by operator Enchanter Fishing Charters based on South Island.
Officials said they will resume the search for the lone missing passenger at first light on Tuesday, March 22.
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