5 people died and 6 others were rescued on Saturday, after a boat that they were in capsized following a collision with a whale, in the waters off of New Zealand’s South Island.
The boat which had 11 people on board mostly from a bird-watching group, had overturned in the waters at about 10am local time, at Goose Bay, 15km south of Kaikoura.
A police dive squad recovered 5 bodies in a search and rescue operation that lasted for nearly seven hours, and 6 others were rescued with minor injuries.
The survivors were seen waving for help in images that emerged on social media, and the police confirmed that the boat belonged to a local charter business.
Craig Mackle, the mayor of Kaikoura, said that there were “indications” that the boat had collided with a whale, but couldn’t comment further as investigations were ongoing.
Mackle described the water conditions as being “flat” and “perfect” and was puzzled as to how it could have capsized, and it then added that it was the time of the year when whales were commonly sighted off the coast.