Man dies after rogue wave washes whitebaiters and quad bikes into river on Wairarapa coast
The rogue wave surged up the inlet and over the sand bar. Photograph Piers Fuller, Stuff.
A rogue wave which came out of nowhere on the Wairarapa coast swept a group of fishermen and some of their vehicles into a river.
One of the people caught by the wave on Thursday afternoon had a medical event shortly after and died at the scene.
Four fishermen were whitebaiting at the mouth of the Mataikona River, about one hour’s drive from Masterton, when a massive swell sent a huge wave up the river mouth and over the sand bar.
One of the fishermen from Masterton, who did not wish to be named, said he and his wife saw the big surge coming up the river and jumped on their quad bike to weight it down.
Despite being parked several metres from the river’s edge the quad with its two passengers was washed off the sand. “It picked the quad up and threw us into the river.
“We went upside down in the river and then scrambled around and my wife popped out of the water and I grabbed her and got her up onto the shore.”
The woman suffered bruising and a burst eardrum from the incident.
“No life-threatening injuries, but she’s a bit bumped and bruised and knocked around.”
The fisherman said it was the biggest rogue wave he had seen in the six years of whitebaiting at the rivermouth.
“It was a rogue wave out of nowhere. It was just a massive surge of water and it was the only one.
“We whitebait there every year and have never seen anything that big come through … and only a one-wave event.”
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