A 13-year-old girl swam to shore and ran for nearly 30 minutes to get help after a boat flipped, drowning one of her two companions, off the Mahia Peninsula in Hawke's Bay.
The girl was fishing with her father and another man when the boat hit a reef and overturned just off the Mahia Peninsula in Hawke's Bay.
Senior Sergeant Tony Bates told Checkpoint the girl and her father got free of the boat and the girl struck out for the shore, while her father tried to save his companion.
Her father was able to get the other man out from under the boat and on to a reef, where he performed CPR. However, he was not able to save him.
The girl made it to shore and ran for about 30 minutes to raise the alarm.
Mr Bates said the sea was rough when rescuers arrived at the spot about an hour after the incident.
"At the time we attended it was heavy seas in the area."
"What it was like at the time they departed to start their fishing trip and the time the accident occurred is yet to be clarified by investigation."
The girl was wearing a lifejacket but the situation with the two adults was unclear.