Fishing mate dies after boat capsizes

Fishing mate dies after boat capsizes
New Zealand Herald – Auckland,New Zealand

An evening’s fishing for two Hamilton friends turned to tragedy when one drowned after their boat capsized and they spent about six hours trying to swim ashore in the Firth of Thames.

Ricky Burnside made it to safety but was too distraught to talk about the ordeal yesterday. The name of the man who died was not available.

Another fisherman was presumed drowned after being swept off rocks at Orokawa Bay, near Waihi Beach, yesterday afternoon.

Police said Mr Burnside, a joiner, and his friend were wearing lifejackets when their 3.6m aluminium boat flipped 2km off the Coromandel coast near Kereta about 8.30pm on Sunday.

They decided to swim for land. An exhausted Mr Burnside struggled ashore 12km north of Tapu about 2am and raised the alarm.

The Thames Coastguard found his companion at 3.50am but he died as he was being brought ashore.

The sea had appeared calm when the two men went out to fish. But John Cowan, Coastguard search and rescue controller in Auckland, said conditions on the western side of the Firth of Thames on Sunday night were “quite choppy”, with an offshore breeze.

“Offshore breezes are always deceptive. It’s nice and calm on the beach but then it gets a bit worse and a bit worse until suddenly it’s dangerous.”

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