21 Dec 2012

Southland boat victims had smoked cannabis

10:11 am on 21 December 2012

A Coroner has revealed that two Southland men who died in a fishing tragedy in Foveaux Strait had smoked cannabis before the boat capsized.

Shaun Bethune, 23, and Lindsay Cullen, 59, were on a recreational fishing boat with three others when it sank on 3 January.

The seven-metre aluminium catamaran Extreme One was overturned by a large wave.

All five on board were wearing life jackets and managed to escape.

After swimming for about two hours, Shaun Bethune and Lindsay Cullen died from hypothermia.

The three others on board, including Shaun's father, Barry Bethune, were able to swim to a bay and call for help from people on the shore.

Blood tests show both victims had recently used cannabis but the coroner says it is impossible to judge whether that contributed to their deaths.

The Coroner has recommended that Maritime New Zealand warn people not to smoke marijuana while on the water.