Five people have tragically died after their boat capsized on a birdwatching trip in New Zealand.
Their boat is said to have collided with a whale, causing the vessel to turn over.
The boat, which had eleven people on board, capsized on Saturday (10 September) in the Goose Bay area near the town of Kaikōura, but police have declined to speculate on the cause of the incident and have only confirmed that there has been some type of collision.
Craig Mackle, the mayor of Kaikōura, believes that the boat had been hit by a surfacing whale, stating that the conditions in the bay at the time of the accident were 'perfect'.
If the vessel had come into contact with some form of debris, it would have left a large hole in the boat which could have caused the boat to upturn, but this wasn't apparent upon further investigation.
Following the incident, at a news conference, Mr Mackle said: "This is a tragic event that affects many lives, not least of all families and loved ones."
Unfortunately, the tragedy couldn't have been predicted but those involved in the rescue have been praised by Mr Mackle for being so quick to act.
"I would like to thank everyone involved in the rescue and the recovery. Being able to bring everyone home is the best result in such a terrible circumstance."
Sergeant Matt Boyce, who is working on the case, declined to comment on the theory that the incident was caused by a whale, but has admitted that it was 'unprecedented'.
The passengers on the vessel were said to have been part of a birdwatching group who had travelled from all across the country to be on the trip.
Among the survivors of the accident to be taken to hospital was the boat's captain, but all have since been released and only one of the survivors has sustained minor injuries.
Three helicopters took part in rescuing the survivors from the capsized boat with eyewitness, Vanessa Chapman, saying that she could see a person sitting on the overturned boat and waving their arms.
The coastal town of Kaikōura is a popular area with tourists, with many local businesses providing boat trips and helicopter rides for visitors to see marine life up close.
Mr Mackle has since told the Associated Press that the number of whales in the area has recently grown, causing him to worry about the potential of a collision.
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