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Waiwera couple’s lucky escape after dinghy capsizes on Hibiscus Coast

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A Waiwera couple had a lucky escape after the Hibiscus Coastguard spotted them clinging to their capsized dinghy while returning from a training exercise to Stanmore Bay.

A Coastguard New Zealand spokesperson told the Herald the volunteers swiftly rescued both individuals – one of whom was elderly – and brought them on board Hibiscus Rescue 2 yesterday afternoon.

“They were then taken back to Waiwera, where [Hato Hone] St John was contacted to assess and care for the couple,” the spokesperson said.

From there the rescue boat returned to the capsized dinghy, which was successfully located and recovered one nautical mile further east, away from the mainland.

An images of the recovered vessel shows a single shoe and some rope sitting in the bottom of the boat, with a Mercury outboard motor still attached.

The spokesperson said one of the volunteers went above and beyond by returning some of the recovered personal items to the couple in Waiwera.

Coastguard volunteer Dave Tilley said the rescue was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

“There were no other vessels nearby, and the couple had one mobile phone in a plastic ziplock bag that they had retrieved from the capsized vessel. Both the outgoing tide and wind would have pushed them further away from land.”

The dinghy being transported back to shore.
The dinghy being transported back to shore.

The spokesperson emphasised the importance of safety for all water enthusiasts, including wearing lifejackets, carrying two forms of waterproof communication, and being aware of weather and sea conditions before heading out on the water.

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