Aerial searches underway for missing victims of New Zealand boating disaster

Rescuers at the scene.
Rescuers at the scene.

Aerial searches are underway for the missing victims of a boating disaster in New Zealand that has already claimed the lives of five people.

Three others are missing after the boat carrying 11 people got into trouble in Kaipara Harbour near Auckland.

Three survivors were plucked from the water and taken to hospital while five bodies have been  recovered.

The alarm was raised after the boat had been reported as overdue to emergency services

Police were still trying to establish what happened to the boat and how its occupants ended up in the water. Conditions were poor at the time with large sea swells.

The vessel, called The Francie, is listed as a 12-metre  long boat that can carry a maximum of 22 people.

Police said four aircraft and the coastguard were searching for people in the water.