Wild weather saw a Sealegs vessel capsize as its crew tried to navigate large waves pummelling Onetangi Beach last Wednesday afternoon.
The conditions were the result of Cyclone Cody, which brought high winds, large swells and crashing waves to many east coast beaches.
Although the turbulent conditions attracted many surfers to Onetangi, those aboard the Sealegs boat quickly found themselves in trouble as the waves lifted their vessel before it flipped and capsized in the surf metres from the shore.
The beach was busy with holidaymakers when the accident occurred soon after 4pm, and around 30 people rushed towards the water to help those who had fallen from the vessel.
According to eyewitnesses, no one was hurt, although those who had been on board were shaken and upset.
“I’m really thankful everyone on board was unhurt, and I’m glad they were all wearing lifejackets,” one beachgoer told Gulf News.
“The support from the community both during and after was incredible.”
Another eyewitness said he was driving along The Strand as he watched the situation unfold.
“The waves were huge, and they were trying to surf one wave in, but they didn’t appear to have the motor on and the sealegs were down. I could see they were trying to come in, but it was like crossing a bar.
“Unfortunately, they surfed a wave in but got twisted side-on and then flipped.”
• Sophie Boladeras
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