A BOAT has capsized after a whale dived underneath, killing five in a horror incident off the coast of New Zealand.
The ship had 11 people on board when the whale was believed to have surfaced underneath and turned it over.
A major rescue operation has been launched near Kaikoura off New Zealand’s South Island.
Two passengers were pronounced dead this morning and three are still missing.
The missing passengers are also said to have died.
The women on board were believed to be a group of women over 50 who were bird lovers, New Zealand news organization Stuff reported.
The six surviving passengers were brought back to shore near Goose Bay after the horror incident.
Police confirmed the 8.5m boat capsized after the collision and are still closely investigating what happened.
The vessel involved is understood to be owned by a local fishing charter company, Fish Kaikoura.
It runs a variety of fishing trips and the skipper was very experienced, according to the company’s website.
“This is an unprecedented event to have happened,” said Kaikoura Police Sergeant Matt Boyce.
He added that there has been a “significant response from emergency services and members of the public as well as the Kaikōura maritime community”.
The police chief continued: “This was a tragic event and the police are supporting those involved at this very difficult time.”
Kaikoura Mayor Craig Mackle expressed emotion as he described Saturday’s incident as a “tragic event that affects us all.”
He said sea conditions were “really, really” good at the time and that there had been several large whale sightings recently.
Pilot Daniel Stevenson, one of the first on the scene, told Stuff: “We saw an overturned boat with a guy sitting on it and the Coast Guard arrived shortly after.
“We basically went down to check and make sure if anyone is swimming in the water we can keep an eye on them until they bring a boat alongside and can be rescued from the water.
“The Coast Guard boat was there fairly quickly after we arrived – about a minute later.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6190638/new-zealand-boat-capsizes-whale-surfaces-five-dead/ Five dead after a whale dives under the boat and flips it over, causing passengers to fall into freezing water