20 Jan 2015

Children in inflatable lucky to be alive

7:51 pm on 20 January 2015

Four children are lucky to be alive after they tried to sail across Nelson Harbour in a small inflatable boat, police say.

All four were taken to hospital with hypothermia after a major rescue last night.

The two teenagers - aged 16 and 18 - and two children - aged 7 and 8 - were trying to get back across the harbour from Haulashore Island using an inflatable boat, designed to be used in a Para Pool.

None were wearing lifejackets.

The boat was flipped by the wind, then the oars and rowlocks broke, so the teenagers could only propel the boat by holding on and kicking behind it, with the children on board.

Search and Rescue Coordinator Constable Dave Cogger said by the time rescuers reached them, they were exhausted and unable to help themselves.

He said when rescuers reached the group, one of the young people was so hypothermic and fatigued they were unable to hold a rescue rope to be dragged to shore.

All four were taken to hospital with hypothermia.