Helicopter pilot describes heart-breaking scenes, Five dead in boat capsize

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Sep 10, 2022 |


A helicopter pilot who flew to this morning’s tragedy has described the harrowing scenes.

Five people died after a boat with 11 onboard capsized off Goose Bay in Kaikōura.

Mayor Craig Mackle earlier said he believed the boat had collided with a whale.

South Pacific Helicopters CEO and Pilot Daniel Stevenson told Chris Lynch he was called to the scene just before 11AM, prior to the Coast Guard arriving.

“I arrived and the boat was upturned.

People had already been rescued from the upturned hull by a private boat, including who I believe was the skipper.”

South Pacific Helicopters CEO and Pilot Daniel Stevenson

“When I got there, there was just one person sitting there on the up-turned hull”

The man hand signaled to indicate there were still people missing.

It wasn’t very nice to see that’s for sure.”

Stevenson said another Coast Guard arrived and managed to rescue the man.

“They also put a diver in the water, and we were then dispatched back to Kaikoura to pick up another diver.

When we went to the scene, a Westpac Rescue machine from Wellington and from Christchurch had arrived.

They put divers in the water and we then hovered down over the boat and put our diver in the water.”

Stevenson said “it was a gorgeous day for boating. There was very little swell. It was what you would imagine it to be, the perfect day for a fishing trip.”

Maritime NZ said it had sent two investigators from Christchurch to Kaikoura.

“Any investigation activity will commence only after rescue/recovery operations have concluded.

We’ll be conducting a thorough investigation under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Maritime Transport Act and we’ll do everything we can to support NZ Police in their investigation.”

Kaikoura District councillor Lisa Bond said the incident was “incredibly heartbreaking. This sound like a freak accident that will have rocked the closekit community.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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