What went wrong on the Kaipara bar?

eight_col_francie_chartersOn Saturday, Francie captain Bill McNatty took what one local described as a ”coin toss” risk – to cross the Kaipara Harbour bar with 10 passengers on board. The result was deadly. Mr McNatty died along with seven of his passengers as the boat capsized. With a series of investigations under way, more details about the accident are emerging. They raise questions not just about Mr McNatty’s role, but the rules that govern charter fishing boats and lifejacket use. Another Kaipara Harbour boat charter operator, Tony Walles, claimed Mr McNatty was a “cowboy” who took “dangerous” risks. “Bill was a cowboy … bloody crazy,” he said. Read the story here. Then, there is , ‘the Queen of the Kaipara’. Flora Thirkettle has seen a lot of shipwrecks but none like this. The 88-year-old said last Saturday’s capsizing of The Francie charter boat has stunned the community and sounded a warning of just how “roaring” and “wild” the Kaipara seas could be. She has spent her life fishing by the old wrecks of the Kaipara Harbour, near the sandbar area known as the ‘graveyard’. Read the story here 15:54