People rescued from waka in windy harbour

Six onboard a small waka being blown out to sea at Tauranga Harbour were rescued on Sunday.

A couple of Tauranga sailors watching through a telescope from shore are aghast at what they say could have been a tragedy today.

They watched as the Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard became involved in the rescue of six people from off a waka that encountered difficulties near the Tauranga Harbour entrance on Sunday afternoon.

"It was 37 knots gusting 43 when the waka was crossing the harbour heading towards the entrance," says one of the sailors, who had been watching from across the harbour near the Otumoetai foreshore.

"We were horrified that the vessel went out in those conditions. Both of us can’t believe it."

Strong winds hit the city on Sunday, with many SunLive readers reporting falling debris from trees as a result of the wind.

"It's also a strong wind against the tide," says the sailors who witnessed the rescue.

The two sailors say they saw six people taken on board the Coastguard vessel from the waka.

"The waka came to grief at the entrance and drifted with a torn sail. It was drifting out of  the entrance with no control," says one of the sailors.

Fresh westerly winds increased in strength from around 11am to over 40 knots. MetService is forecasting the westerly to die down again atround 7pm today.

A Coastguard spokesperson says Coastguard received multiple calls from the public about a waka struggling in the strong winds and outgoing tide at the entrance to Tauranga Harbour just after 12pm.

"Several nearby vessels responded quickly to the situation, ensuring everyone was okay, with one starting to tow them safely back to shore.

"Shortly after, Coastguard Tauranga volunteers onboard TECT Rescue swapped the tow over, bringing the waka paddlers and their equipment safely home.

"We thank everyone involved who went to the aid of the waka crew in difficult conditions, enabling a fantastic result."


The Master

Posted on 26-05-2024 18:18 | By Ian Stevenson

Obviously the wind and so the sea was a little rough for a waka. But really, the open sea is no place for such a thing, they are not remotely sea worthy even on a good day, at all.

WHY ??

Posted on 27-05-2024 08:59 | By fair game

One has to ask why they chose to go out in such atrocious weather, and then expect the taxpayer to foot the bill and then expect others to put themselves at risk, and put themselves out having to rescue them. Hoping they reimburse the Coastguard for their time, expertise, and the risk to themselves. Hate to think what would happen if the Coastguard wasn't there. As the saying goes.... can't fix stupid....

User pays

Posted on 27-05-2024 11:44 | By TracyB

Split the bill 6 ways but I'm glad nobody drowned


Posted on 27-05-2024 13:17 | By Dee236

Why do people feel they are invisible. The weather has been blowing for the past few days. This annoys me because people choose to face death rather than listening to commonsense. Though MetService on my phone wasn't updating fast enough. I mean the service said no rain when it was actually drizzling. Hmm

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