Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Police warning follows fisherman’s rock rescue

Auckland Police are urging local fishing enthusiasts to stay safe while dropping a line after the rescue of a fisherman from rocks at Bethells Beach on Friday.

Police say that in the early hours of Friday 16 February, officers received a report of a person stuck on rocks at Bethells Beach just before 2am.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter, working with Police Search and Rescue, were able to rescue the man and take him to safety.

Air Support Unit Supervisor, Sergeant Mark Jamieson said responding Police thought the rescue attempt was going to end in a fatality.

“Our team onboard of Eagle were monitoring the dangerous conditions on the water,” he said.

“It is incredibly lucky our staff did not have to inform a family their loved one wasn’t coming home.

“However, it doesn’t always end with good news.”

Senior Sergeant Garry Larsen, of the Auckland Maritime Unit, says Police are urging those who go rock fishing to be aware of their surroundings, especially on West Coast beaches.

“The combination of its remote location, slippery rocks, and unpredictable sea conditions creates a perilous environment even for the most experienced fishers,” he said.

“We have seen too many tragedies unfold in such high-risk areas.”

Senior Sergeant Larsen says Police are urging keen anglers to keep water safety as the top priority.

“Rock fishing is a popular pastime, but it can be extremely dangerous if you’re not prepared.”

“Always wear a life jacket when rock fishing, even though you’re not out on the water.

“Make sure you’ve checked tide and swell information before heading out, so you’re not caught off guard.

“You should also never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas.”

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Attending Air Crew Officer, Callan Carn-Bennett reiterated the message from Police.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing far too many incidents of people requiring rescuing from precarious locations,” he said.

“It’s important you know what you are doing and know how to use your gear before attempting to fish from rocks in areas that may be too risky.

“This rescue was a coordinated response between Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Police, who provided us with fantastic communication to assist us with locating the person in a timely manner.

“We were able to immediately winch to his location to return him safely back to the shore and to his family.” 

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