Brave rescue recognised

Lieutenant Simon Andrew Wasley, DSD (New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration) for services to the New Zealand Defence Force.

An act of skill and courage has seen Lieutenant Simon Wasley rewarded in this year's Queen's Birthday honours.

The Navy officer has been made New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration medal for diving into heavy seas at Cape Reinga to save three people from a sinking sail boat.

While patrolling north of Cape Reinga in July 2014 the HMNZS Otago, of which Mr Wasley was the Operations Officer, received a 'mayday' distress call from a sailing boat with a broken rudder. The sail boat was in danger of sinking.

HMNZS Otago responded to the distress call but were unable to launch inflatable boats due to the conditions. Another plan was formulated to use the ship's pilot ladder and the sail boat's life raft to rescue the crew but it also fell through due to the rough weather conditions.

Mr Wasley, a former operational diver, then dove into the water and was able to guide the sail boat's life raft, carrying the three crew members, to within five metres of Otago's bow and despite the rough conditions, fitted each of the sail boat's crew with a rescue recovery strop allowing them to be safely lifted out of the water.

It is believed that, given the conditions, it would have been unlikely the crew would have been rescued without the professionalism, skill and courage displayed by Lieutenant Wasley.

By Regan Schoultz of NZME. News Service

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