14 Jun 2014

Capsized men 'lucky to be alive'

8:48 pm on 14 June 2014

The police say five men whose dinghy capsized in the Waikato River on the way back to Hamilton from Fieldays on Friday night, are lucky to be alive.

A police launch had to rescue the five men who overloaded the small boat just before nightfall, on the swollen, fast flowing river, without life jackets, and having drunk alcohol.

The police said one man was rescued by a waka crew, the police launch rescued three others and a fifth man made it to shore.

One man was found nearly drowned, clinging to the dinghy.

The Waikato Regional Council said the incident highlighted the need for the authorities to be able to breath-test boaties who needed rescuing, just as they do with people who drink and drive.