Tairua fisherman spends nearly 24 hours overboard near Aldermans

Written by on January 4, 2024

Probably one of the luckiest survival stories for some time comes from a fisherman from Tairua who spent 23.5 hours in the water. The 61 year old from Tairua was out fishing by himself  on his 40 foot boat when he hooked a fish he though to be a Marlin. What then happened is still a little unclear but he ended up in the water with the boat in gear and idling leaving him adrift with no means of communicating with rescue services.

According to Whangamata Police Sergeant Will Hamilton, he had done the right thing before departure and logged his trip with Coastguard with an expectation he would be out for 24 hours. Coastguard therefore was not aware of him being in trouble or overdue.

During the 24 hours he spotted a shark that came and took a look but left him alone.

Eventually he was able to attract the attention of another fishing boat by reflecting the sun on his wristwatch.  He was picked up by a group of Auckland fisherman who spotted the unusual reflection and went to investigate. They were surprised to see the fisherman in the water and told CFM that he was lucky conditions were so favourable. His condition was not good when they picked him up but as they returned to Whangamata and his body temperature increased he became more responsive . By the time they arrived at the Whangamata marina, he was relatively perky considering having spent nearly 24 hours in the sea.

John Freer spoke to Will Hamilton and you can hear his interview here.

The fate of the boat is not know but is now likely to be far out to sea. A warning has been issued to shipping to be on alert for the launch.

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