At least seven people died and another person is missing after a chartered fishing boat sank in large waves at the entrance to a harbor near Auckland, authorities said.
Francie, listed as a 12-meter boat, was carrying 11 people when it capsized at the entrance to Kaipara Harbour Saturday afternoon.
Rescuers recovered five bodies from the water soon after the accident and two bodies washed ashore on nearby beaches early Sunday, police Inspector Duncan Hall said.
The boat’s crew notified the coast guard that they were attempting to cross a sandbar at the entrance to the harbor about 2 p.m., coast guard officials said.
The coast guard raised the alarm an hour later when the boat did not report back and could no longer be reached on its marine radio or by mobile phone. Other boats in the area reported that they could no longer see the boat.
Waves at the sandbar were about four meters high at the time of the accident, according to post authorities.
Sandbars are formed when sand builds up on the seafloor, something that can happen at harbor entrances where the ocean meets calmer harbor water.