5 dead after fishing boat capsizes, possible collision with whales

  • Five have died after a boat carrying 11 people capsized near Kaikōura, New Zealand on Saturday.
  • Authorities are investigating the cause, but said it appeared the boat had been in a collision.
  • The mayor of Kaikōura said it appeared the boat had collided with a whale.

Five people died when a charter fishing boat off Kaikōura, New Zealand capsized on Saturday, officials have confirmed.

The boat, which was nearly 28 feet long, overturned around 10 a.m. local time, the New Zealand Herald reported. It was carrying 11 people. A dive team recovered five bodies while the other six were rescued.

The people on the boat were believed to be bird enthusiasts from all over New Zealand who had chartered the boat to explore the area.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but said it appeared the boat had collided with something. Sergeant Matt Boyce called it an “unprecedented event”, according to the Herald.

Kaikōura Mayor Craig Mackle said earlier today that it appeared the boat had collided with a whale that came from below, Radio New Zealand reported.

He said water conditions were “perfect, flat” and whales come into the harbor and were seen in the area, the Herald reported.

Kaikōura is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, approximately 112 miles northwest of Christchurch, and is a popular whale watching destination.

Robert A. Glidden