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Press release from the NZ Herald-

Four rescued after fishing boat hits rocks

Four men have been rescued from a liferaft after they abandoned their fishing boat when it hit rocks at Motiti Island in the Bay of Plenty shortly before daybreak today.

The Tauranga pilot boat picked up the four, believed to be experienced fishermen, about 8am after their 14 metre fishing boat Lady Luck hit the rocks and began taking on water.

The men sent out a mayday call on their VHF radio, activated their emergency locator beacon and set off distress flares.

By the time the Tauranga pilot boat and a Tauranga Coastguard boat arrived, the fishing boat was on its side on rocks about 200m south off Motiti Island, 11 nautical miles from Mt Maunganui.

The men were taken to Tauranga Hospital for a check-up.

Tauranga Coastguard search and rescue incident manager Bruce Caldwell said the four men did everything right

They were believed to be very cold and wet but not hurt.

Mr Caldwell said there was a 1m metre swell and a 15 knot south westerly wind when they were rescued.

They kept the liferaft tethered to the fishing boat which was lying on its side on the rocks.

Steve Corbett, from the National Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Wellington, said the Lady Luck was very well equipped with rescue gear.

"Even though they were relatively close to shore it was pretty important we got them out of the water given the conditions.

"You wouldn't want to be in the water in these conditions.

"They certainly did everything right and when you get into trouble that is the main thing."

Mr Corbett said the state of the boat was not known.

Environment Bay of Plenty said it was concerned that the vessel might break up and dump up to 1200 litres of diesel into the sea.

Commander for pollution control Nigel Drake said southeast winds rising to 35 knots and a 1m swell had made salvage impossible at the moment.

Mr Drake said they were keeping a watch on the vessel but expected it could break up in the worsening weather conditions.

An attempt to remove the oil would be considered when conditions allowed but any of the light diesel that did escape into the water was likely to be quickly dispersed by the wave action.

He said the vessel skipper had assured him the vessel's fuel tanks were in good condition.

Environment Bay of Plenty staff were contacting people on the island to let them know what had happened.

The Department of Conservation had been alerted in case any wildlife might be affected by oil.


See www.nzherald.co.nz for pictures

Rushie
 
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