Asia

New Zealand boat accident leaves several missing

File photo of Easy Rider
Image caption Skipper Rewai Karetai, shown aboard the Easy Rider, is among those missing

A fishing boat has capsized off New Zealand's southern coast and rescue operations are still ongoing for the missing passengers, local media report.

The Easy Rider, with three crew and six passengers, sank on Wednesday night in Foveaux Strait after being hit by a rogue wave, officials say.

At least two bodies have been reportedly recovered and one man has been rescued.

The passengers were en route to a remote island for a hunting trip.

Officials say that the seas were rough and there was heavy rain at the time of the accident. Almost 14 hours elapsed before the boat was reported missing.

Freezing water

Police say that none of the passengers appeared to have been wearing life jackets.

"While the situation appears bleak, the full-scale search will continue today," police said.

The lone survivor told police that a wave hit the 40ft (12m) boat around midnight and caused it to capsize almost immediately. He is in hospital for hypothermia treatment.

Officials say that the man managed to stay afloat in the freezing water for 18 hours before rescuers saved him.

The Royal New Zealand Navy has confirmed that the fishing boat has been found on the sea floor.

The captain of the boat, Rewai Karetai, who was hailed as a hero for saving three people earlier this year, and a seven-year-old boy were among the missing passengers.