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Hero image for Inside Story: The Wahine Disaster

Inside Story: The Wahine Disaster

Television (Excerpts) – 2008

She was a very nice ship but the boys reckoned she was actually jinxed because there were things, like the steam lines used to blow out on a regular basis and that shouldn't have happened on a ship that new.
– Phil Bennett, Engineer
When you've got a compass that's not telling you which way you're heading, when you've got a radar that's not working, where are you? We're in trouble.
– Alvyn Finlayson, Able Seaman
Here's a special news item just to hand — The interisland ferry Wahine is reported to have gone aground on Barrett Reef. Tugs are on their way to help, but the marine department believes there is no serious danger.
– Radio announcement from the day of the sinking
I said no, it's ok for you, you're in the boat, but those people are in the water. We'll pick up as many as we possibly can. Two fellas suggested that the good of everybody else would be best served if they threw me over the side and took the boat ashore themselves. And so I had to use the axe out of the stern locker and sort of ah, suggest that they sit down and be quiet.
– Phil Bennett, Engineer, on prioritising pulling people aboard life boats
A young man came in with his life jacket on, our hands just about met; we looked each other in the eyes. I mean, he obviously thought at that stage that he was safe. We missed each other, he went out again on the next surge of the water, and just as I watched, he then came in on the next wave and straight over the rocks.
– Detective Ray Whitham, on attempting to save people on the Pencarrow coast