Boat flips at Tairua bar near Pauanui, Coromandel – rescue helicopters, Coastguard on scene

Three people, including a child, have been flown by rescue helicopter to hospital in critical condition after a boat with five people on board flipped on Tairua bar near Pauanui.

Earlier information indicated two people were critically unwell after the 2.37pm incident, but it had now been confirmed three people were in critical condition after the incident, a St John Ambulance spokeswoman said.

Two were flown by rescue helicopter to Starship hospital in Auckland, and the third person flown by rescue helicopter to Waikato Hospital, she said.

The two other people on board the boat at the time it flipped were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

One of those flown to Starship hospital by Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter’s Westpac 3 was a boy in a critical condition, rescue helicopter spokeswoman Lincoln Davies said.

A woman in her 30s was also among those caught up in the incident, suffering minor injuries.

The Westpac 2 rescue helicopter was also sent to help, Davies said.

Multiple ambulances and rescue helicopters were sent to help soon after 2.30pm.

A witness said three rescue helicopters had landed in the area, a popular Coromandel holiday spot, and the Coastguard was also involved.

“Coastguard boat still out in water towing boat upside down – it had turned over but when they got person out it flipped again and went back out to sea.”

Video shot at the scene showed people holding up a sheet as ambulance officers worked near a surf lifesaving IRB.

It also showed a semi-submerged boat near shore.

Aucklander Campbell Wright was on a boat going out fishing when he saw 20 to 30 people in the water trying to right the stricken vessel, which he believed was a pleasure boat about 5m long.

“There was a massive line of people trying to right the boat. It took a lot of people and a long time. There was a big cheer when they got it over.”

Along with the rescue helicopters, two ambulances, two managers and a rapid response unit were sent to the Vista Paku area to help.

The incident comes two days after a boatload of people had a lucky escape when rough seas flipped their vessel on Tairua bar.

Video provided to the Herald showed the Coastguard towing the submerged, upside-down boat before a crowd of people helped right it.

The Pauanui surf lifesaving club had picked up the boat’s passengers, none of whom were injured, but the boat had been upturned and was on the inside of the bar, Andrew Gibson, president of the Tairua-Pauanui Coastguard unit, said.

“It is a treacherous bar, especially at low tide.”

Low tide is at 4.12pm today.

– More to come.

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