Rescue team carry out assessments at wreckage site in Liku

Chief of Police Tony Edwards at Liku

The Chief of Police and Coordinator for Centre of Emergency Operations Tony Edwards says the catamaran yesterday grounded roughly around 4am.  

The Rescue Coordination Centre in NZ alerted Niue Police that the emergency beacon was set off where Niue Police were able to get the coordinates and confirmed that they did hit aground.

Edwards explained the couple onboard was disoriented and had no idea of what reef they had hit.

When questioned on the execution in getting manpower to the isolated and rough terrain with Fire and Rescue caught up also in attending to the delayed departing air NZ flight on Monday July 29th, Edwards advised that processes and structures are in place affirming this is what they’ve been trained for and that they’re able to adapt acknowledging also the resilience of the Niuean people in offering to help during such instances.

The team continued working vigorously today in assessing the wreck to determine feasibility of getting the vessel of the reef.  In relation to the environmental damage Edwards informed these are important conversations to be had and is communicating with the Crown Law and the Secretary to Government. 

He also acknowledged he wasn’t able to inform further on details pertaining to this but that his paramount worry in addition to the potential environmental damage is that of the safety of his team and the risk involved in the assessment.

Edwards said he is grateful for all those that have and continue to assist the team  and reminds the public that the area concerned is cordoned off and to please remain away from this area while the team still carry out assessments of the wreckage.

Meanwhile, the Couple Brian Rodwell and Loraine Weir who were rescued from the east coast of the island are now recovering in hospital. 

The couple’s yacht ran aground on the east coast of the island in the early hours of yesterday morning.  The two passengers both managed to swim to shore but sustained injuries. 

It’s understood the couple was finally taken to hospital at 6.30pm yesterday after a whole day of rescue efforts.

The health department’s medical team were on site along with the full rescue team. All agencies involved in this mission included National Disaster Management Office, Niue Police, Fisheries Officials, local fisherman BJ Rex, the Search and Rescue Boat and Outside Services including the Heavy Plant division.

Fire and Rescue services were held up at the Airport because of the plane and were only able to attend to the scene after the plane had departed after 3pm yesterday. 

The incident happened between the village of Liku and Hakupu. 

This is the second rescue mission for yachts in as many days. Last week there was another rescue mission to tow in a yacht with engine failure from the west of Niue. 

Story by Fiafia Rex

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