On holiday with family, James and Sam decided to go fishing on Lake Taupo. Very capable and skilled rowers, they borrowed a dingy and set out. “Once out on the water, the weather deteriorated and a decent swell came up. We decided to forge on but our boat was quickly submerged. At first it’s like a bit of a joke but it got serious pretty quickly.”
“We just knew the boat would flip. I had a phone in the top pocket of my Swanndri, and called 111 to alert the coastguard before we were cut off and tipped into the water with waves crashing over us. We realised at that moment – well, it’s just us now! We had no phone; it was either do or die!”
“Our instinct was to swim to shore, but the boat wasn’t ours and we felt we should stay with it for as long as possible.”
“We were passed by five boats in the distance and a tourist chopper flying overhead, but no one saw us, even though we were frantically waving yellow floating objects.”
“but then…we suddenly heard the sound of a helicopter, Taupo’s Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, and it saw us! What a relief!
“suffering only mild hypothermia, we were delivered safely to shore by the coastguard a short time later.”
Pilot Nat Every recounts “They were well equipped for their expedition on the water and had taken every precaution before venturing out, but a rogue wave swamped them. It is credit to them that they kept their heads, alerted emergency services and stayed with the boat.”