Video: Tiny NZ fishing dinghy survives close encounter with cruise ship

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 11th, 2019

Sensational video has emerged of the moment a cruise ship in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand had a near miss with a small inflatable dinghy carrying four people.

Horrified passengers on board the multi-storey ship watched as the dinghy, which had reportedly run out of fuel, was stranded, making it a sitting target for a collision.

The video was released by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on January 9, warning boat enthusiasts to keep their distance, saying “Don’t let your next trip be your last”.

“Keep clear 50 metres to each side of a ship and 500 metres ahead. That’s two container ship widths to the side and three and a half rugby fields in front.

“Don’t let your next trip be your last,” the council posted on its Facebook page after the December 14 near miss.

Cruise liner passenger John Scott described the scene as “sickening”.

“From where I was standing on the ship this little boat appeared to cross the path of Solstice at least twice and they did have two oars at one stage,” he wrote.

“More work needs doing on how they came to be there. Standing up there on the bow of the larger boat was sickening and everybody I saw was filled with alarm.

“The ship’s horn was going incessantly. We also heard that one of the younger passengers had jumped overboard in fright and had to be retrieved from the water.

Very Lucky! Keep clear 50 metres to each side of a ship and 500 metres ahead. That’s two container ship widths to the side and three and a half rugby fields in front. Don’t let your next trip be your last. – Bay of Plenty Regional Council on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In what has been described as an act of heroism, a quick-thinking fisherman saw the drama unfold, and raced to the boat where he pulled it to safety within metres of the deadly collision course.

Cara Hight took to social media to reveal it was her “husband and our employees” who rescued the group.

“That was my husband & our employees doing the rescue … the young guy on the inflatable had run out of gas & then dropped one of his oars in the panic of trying to move away from the cruise ship.

“The guy & his posse of girls were very very lucky indeed,” she wrote on Facebook.

Another passenger up the front of the cruise ship didn’t think the four on board were going to make it.

“I was on the cruise ship (up front on the helipad) and I wasn’t sure they were going to make it … Not a lot of room for a huge ship to move there. We were all happy about the good outcome,” he wrote.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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