NARROW ESCAPE OF A BOATING PARTY.
A narrow escape from drowning bef el a party of picnickers yesterday afternoon in the arm of the harbour behind Matapihi. It appears that Mr G. E. Spooner with hia wife, and her sister, Miss Garland, and Mr E. Mcßoberts went for a sail up the arm of the harbour between Maungatapu and Matapihi, and when in deep water a squall capsized the boat, from the leeward side, thus throwing all the occupants into the water and under the sail of the boat. After considerable exertion the whole party extricated themselves, and the ladies having been got on to the keel of the boat, it was decided that Mcßoberts, being a strong swimmer should try and get help from the shore. Accordingly he struck out and after a long swim only reached the Matapihi shore to find no boat available, and then with rare courage, took to the water again with the intention of crossing the wide and rough channel between Matapihi and Maungatapu. After an exhausting swim against wind and waves, most fortunately he was Been by two Natives who called to Mr F. Chappell, who was working on the new churoh, and he with one of the Maoris at once went to Mcßoberts's rescue, picking him up greatly exhausted, but nevertheless able to explain the predicament of his friends. The rescue party immediately pulled with all speed in the direction indicated and succeeded in taking oif the other three, who were also in an exhausted state having been in the water over an hour, and the boat having turned over with them several times. The party was landed and, helped by the Maoris to a house which, was placed at their disposal in a most hospitable manner by the Maoris, who did everything they could for the comfort of the unfortunate people and looked after? them all night, enabling them to return to their homes this morning little the worse for their trying experience. Too much cannot be said for the courageous conduct of Mcßoberts, who, by the way, is a member of the local Post Office Staff, for whether or not the other members of the party might possibly have been rescued by other means in his absence, he undoubtedly took his own life in his hands, and narrowly escaped losing it, in carrying out his manly intention to save them at all hazards to himself.
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