Coastguard rescues man after six hours in the water   Date: Friday 13 January, 2017
Coastguard rescues man after six hours in the water

Summary:  At 2345 hours on Thursday 12 January, three Coastguard rescue vessels were tasked to search for a man reported missing in the Manukau Harbour.

The 34 year old male had rowed out around 2200 hours from Green Bay to set some fishing nets, when his 2m wooden dingy was swamped by waves.

Volunteers from Coastguard Waiuku and Titirangi were tasked to begin searching from 2345pm, with the Coastguard Papakura team and the Police Eagle helicopter joining them shortly afterwards.

After nearly four hours of searching in choppy conditions across the breadth of the Manukau Harbour, the man was located at 0353 hours in the middle of the Purakau Channel by volunteers onboard Papakura Rescue One. He was found in the water, with his overturned dinghy nearby. Although the man was wearing a wetsuit and a lifejacket, he was suffering from severe hypothermia when found, and was drifting in and out of consciousness.

The man was rushed by Papakura Rescue One to a waiting ambulance ashore at Mangere Bridge at approximately 0430 this morning.

“He’s a very lucky man,” said Rod Frost, President of Coastguard Papakura, and skipper of the volunteer crew who located the man. “There were some rough conditions out in the Manuaku Harbour, and although we were searching much of the night, we only spotted the man when our searchlights picked up the reflective strips on his lifejacket.”

“He went out unprepared, with only oars and a lifejacket – he had no forms of communication with which to signal for help once he got into trouble.”

Mr Frost notes that “The lifejacket the man was wearing kept him afloat throughout the night, and that undoubtedly saved his life.”

Coastguard urges that any boatie heading out on the water remember to wear a lifejacket, carry at least two forms of waterproof communication, and file a Trip Report with Coastguard, so that if they are reported missing search and rescue teams have an initial location from which to start searching.