Tourist’s keenness to take photos dampened


He may not have the pictures to prove it, but an American tourist will remember his visit to Napier after stepping backward off a wharf while taking a photo.

Entranced by a line-up of vintage cars yesterday, the 75-year-old cruise-ship passenger stepped backward on the wharf in the Port of Napier to fit them all into his viewfinder.

He dropped five metres into the sea, falling between the wharf and the Dutch cruise ship Volendam.

Police said the man struggled in the water, but was quickly rescued by crew member Paul Haggerty, who dived into the narrow gap.

The passenger appeared to be in good shape when returned to land but was taken by ambulance to Hawke’s Bay Hospital in Hastings to check for suspected water inhalation.

He was kept under observation but not admitted. The camera was thought to have ended up in a watery grave.

The vintage cars had been lined up on the wharf to add to Napier’s art deco ambience for the passengers on the ship, which has a capacity of 1400.

Speaking from the hospital, the man – who lives in California – declined to give his name but thanked Mr Haggerty for jumping into the water to save him.

“I would also like to express my thanks to the hospital and all the staff who have looked after me so well,” he said.

The Volendam sailed for Tauranga later in the afternoon, and the ship’s agents were arranging for the rescued man to fly there to rejoin his cruise.