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Rescues highlight Mangawhai bar danger


DJI 0327lg-648Mangawhai Heads lifeguards and local surfers responded to two separate boat incidents on the Mangawhai bar over the first weekend of May.

Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service members, local surfers and members of the public combined for rescues of two boats and their passengers that overturned in separate incidents, one on the Friday and one on Sunday.

There were no major injuries or lives lost.

At around 11.30am on the Friday a 7m vessel flipped on the Mangawhai bar as it was returning from fishing. 
The vessel had engine problems and got into trouble as it approached Head Rock, became submerged and both passengers were briefly trapped underneath before surfacing.

With a strong outgoing tide and 2m swell, off-duty lifeguards Tony Baker and Hamish Judson responded along with Auckland surfer Shane Murrell. 

Baker and Murrell paddled the shocked and exhausted pair offshore on their boards, away from the rocks and breaking waves, where they were picked up and returned to shore by a nearby fishing boat. 

An IRB was launched to clear the entrance of any dangerous flotsam and the submerged boat was eventually turned upright and towed back to the harbour.
Both men were wearing life jackets.

Less than 48 hours later a similar sized vessel flipped on the bar while heading out fishing. With sea conditions remaining in the 2m range the vessel took a number of waves on the head before flipping and throwing the three passengers into treacherous current. 

A local surfer who witnessed the incident from the beach called 111, activating the local After Hours Call Out Squad. An IRB was launched with three lifeguards on board. 

Local surfer Scott Manwaring had one patient secured on his surfboard and paddled out to sea away from the breaking waves. The IRB then picked up the three in the water and returned safely to shore. 

Once the channel was cleared the IRB then flipped the boat back upright and towed it to the harbour boat ramp.

Both rescues highlight the ongoing danger that bar crossings present to boaties, and the importance of being prepared and wearing a lifejacket.

 Support the MHVLS service by donating online at givealittle.co.nz/org/mangawhaisurfclub

Mangawhai bar claimed two boats in separate incidents earlier this month. Local surf rescue services and members of the public moved quickly, and bravely, bringing vessels and passengers back to shore safely. PHOTO/Nick Murray
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