WELLINGTON, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Five people are dead and three are missing after a small boat got into trouble in the Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland, New Zealand Police said Saturday.
Eleven people were on the vessel when it was reported missing, sparking a major search and rescue operation.
The bodies of five people had been recovered from Kaipara Harbour and three others people had been rescued and taken to hospital, said a police statement.
The search for another three people would continue Sunday, it said.
Three helicopters, an airplane and a Police launch had been involved in the search, which had been called off after dark as conditions deteriorated.
The police, Coastguard, St John ambulance and surf life saving organizations had all been involved in the rescue operation.
It has been reported the boat was a fishing charter that can carry a maximum of 20 people.
A long-term Kaipara resident told Xinhua by phone that those on the boat were more likely to be local people out fishing rather than tourists.
The Kaipara Harbour is said to be the largest natural harbor in the southern hemisphere, but shipping long ago abandoned it as a port because the harbor entrance was notoriously dangerous and claimed many wrecks.
The entrance, known as the Kaipara Bar, is very narrow and its shifting sands make it unpredictable.
"We've had strong northwesterly winds here today, so it would have been wild out on the harbor," the resident told Xinhua.