12 Sep 2011

Pair rescued from Auckland harbour after dinghy capsize

9:33 am on 12 September 2011

The Coastguard says two men rescued from Auckland harbour could have been rescued after minutes, not hours, if they'd had a waterproof radio.

Northern region coastguard duty officer Mark Levers says one man spent an hour in the water and the other two hours, after their dinghy capsized before 8pm on Sunday. Neither were wearing life jackets.

Mr Levers says coastguards received a call about 9pm from a member of the public at Wynyard Wharf saying he could hear someone calling for help. They referred the call to the police, who'd had similiar reports.

Mr Levers says the first man was rescued from a moored vessel near Stanley Point and raised the alarm that his friend was lost.

After an intensive search of Waitemata Harbour by police, coastguards, surf lifesaving personnel and a rescue helicopter, the second man was found on a vessel moored at Shoal Bay.

"He was clinging to the bows of a vessel for a while, he can't quite recall how he got the strength or how he actually got on to the vessel," Mr Levers said.

The man was treated for hypothermia and taken to Auckland Hospital.