Six commended for rescue

WELL DONE: Police presented the six men who rescued four others after their boat sank off Tolaga Bay in May, with Certificates of Appreciation. Those attending the ceremony included (from left) police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama, Kelly Blackman, Richard Barrett (the boat owner) James Merino, Kerehama Blackman, Bill Destounis, Dion Milner, Joss Broughton-Tuapawa, Constable Richard Reeves and Stefan Destounis. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE six rescuers involved in saving four men whose pleasure boat sank underneath them well offshore from Tolaga Bay in late May have been commended by New Zealand Police.

The men — Tolaga Bay Constable Richard Reeves, local volunteer firefighter Dion Milner, Bill and Stefan Destounis, Tolaga Bay SLSC club captain Kerehama Blackman and his son Costa have been awarded Certificates of Appreciation.

They received their awards in a ceremony at the Tolaga Bay fire station.

On May 23 four men were out for a day’s fishing 10 kilometres off from Tolaga Bay when their twin-hulled Shark Cat craft foundered and they ended up in the water.

They were wearing lifejackets and one of them had a waterproof cellophone which they used to call for help.

Constable Reeves went out in his own boat with Mr Milner. Bill Destounis and his son Stefan were in the area fishing and they joined the search, and the Blackmans went out in a surf club IRB.

The Destounis pair spotted them first and the four men were picked up, cold but OK.

“We spotted them at just the right time,” Bill Destounis said after the award ceremony.

“We decided to keep going in our search for another five minutes, and then there they were in line with our bow.

“It was absolute luck we found them.”

Mr Blackman said they were all so happy the men were found and rescued.

Richard Barrett, who owned the surf cat, said, “It surely was a nice feeling when we saw those boats coming towards us.”

The certificates the men received from police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama stated the rescue was “an outstanding response and a brave effort.”

“Your quick and decisive actions played a part in the safe rescue of the men.

“Thank you for your contribution that makes our region a safer place to live.”

THE six rescuers involved in saving four men whose pleasure boat sank underneath them well offshore from Tolaga Bay in late May have been commended by New Zealand Police.

The men — Tolaga Bay Constable Richard Reeves, local volunteer firefighter Dion Milner, Bill and Stefan Destounis, Tolaga Bay SLSC club captain Kerehama Blackman and his son Costa have been awarded Certificates of Appreciation.

They received their awards in a ceremony at the Tolaga Bay fire station.

On May 23 four men were out for a day’s fishing 10 kilometres off from Tolaga Bay when their twin-hulled Shark Cat craft foundered and they ended up in the water.

They were wearing lifejackets and one of them had a waterproof cellophone which they used to call for help.

Constable Reeves went out in his own boat with Mr Milner. Bill Destounis and his son Stefan were in the area fishing and they joined the search, and the Blackmans went out in a surf club IRB.

The Destounis pair spotted them first and the four men were picked up, cold but OK.

“We spotted them at just the right time,” Bill Destounis said after the award ceremony.

“We decided to keep going in our search for another five minutes, and then there they were in line with our bow.

“It was absolute luck we found them.”

Mr Blackman said they were all so happy the men were found and rescued.

Richard Barrett, who owned the surf cat, said, “It surely was a nice feeling when we saw those boats coming towards us.”

The certificates the men received from police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama stated the rescue was “an outstanding response and a brave effort.”

“Your quick and decisive actions played a part in the safe rescue of the men.

“Thank you for your contribution that makes our region a safer place to live.”

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