23 Sep 2008

Coastguard link with police 'too fragmented'

8:50 pm on 23 September 2008

A senior coastguard radio operator has told a coroner's court she believes the present system of communicating with police is too fragmented.

Audrey Cox, who volunteers as a radio operator and has been involved with search and rescue work for more than 30 years, gave evidence on Tuesday at the inquest into the death of Feilding man Geoff Hampton.

Mr Hampton, 19, died in his father's arms after the boat they were fishing in sank off the Wanganui coast in February.

Mr Hampton's father and the boat's owner were rescued after more than 12 hours in the water.

Ms Cox said she used to get immediate help with marine matters at the local police station, but the system is now fragmented and drawn-out.

She says she finds the system frustrating and time-wasting.