Three bodies found as boat wreck located off New Zealand
Mar 16, 2012, 3:45 GMT
Wellington - Three bodies were recovered from the sea off New Zealand Friday and five others were missing feared drowned as the wreck of the fishing boat they were in was found on the seabed in 40-metres of water, police said.
Only one of the three crew and six passengers on board the 11.6-metre Easy Rider survived after clinging to wreckage for about 18 hours after it capsized immediately when swamped by a rogue wave in the notoriously rough Foveaux Strait about four hours after leaving the southern port of Buff on Wednesday night.
Police named one of the missing as 7-year-old Odin Karetai, a relative of the Easy Rider's skipper, William Rewai Karetai, 47. Their relationship was not immediately known. Earlier reports that two children were on board were incorrect.
The ages of the other victims named ranged from 28 to 58. All were from New Zealand's southernmost city Invercargill and were said to be members of the same extended family.
Only one body, that of Shane Ronald Topi, 29, which was recovered from the sea Thursday night, was immediately identified.
The sole survivor, Dallas Tumoana Reedy, 44, who was suffering extreme hypothermia when he was found clinging to a barrel Thursday evening, was said to be in a critical condition in hospital.
He told police that he was on the deck with two others when the wave hit and the rest of the party were in the wheelhouse. 'It came out of nowhere,' he said.
A MetService spokesman was quoted on the Stuff news website as saying there was heavy rain and gale force winds in Foveaux Strait at the time of the capsize, as well as a 4-metre swell.
The boat was on a family outing to get mutton birds, or sooty shearwaters, on the small islands of the strait. They are a delicacy for indigenous Maoris, who have a traditional legal right to take from their breeding grounds at this time of year.
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