Two men were charged with the theft of a boat that capsized this week and are expected in court on Friday for their role in the maritime crime. One suspect, known only as a 25-year-old man, already appeared in Tauranga District Court today and was charged with stealing a dinghy, which ironically ended up capsizing. He is expected to reappear on October 26. A 22-year-old man also involved in the maritime theft incident is expected to appear in court today as well.
The suspects are two of four men who were involved in an accident involving the stolen vessel. The incident took place in Tauranga Harbour earlier this week. Three of the men involved in the accident (including the two who were charged) made it to shore after the aluminum dinghy flipped near Motuhoa Island around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The fourth man, 23-year-old Shaun Hogarth, is still missing. Authorities do not believe Hogarth is alive and are currently searching for his body. Investigators are also searching for the third suspect, Liam Kane, 22. While he originally swam to shore, he has not been seen since Tuesday. Police do not believe any of the men had been wearing lifejackets when the dinghy flipped over.
According to police, it appears the men were fishing at the time of the boating accident, as they had borrowed fishing rods and purchased bait. It is unclear who they stole the actual vessel from. Authorities are asking for help in finding Kane. Anyone who has information as to his whereabouts is encouraged to speak with police.
“When Liam was seen on the shore last night he appeared to be in good health but it is important that we locate him, not only to check on his welfare, but to find out everything he knows about events…” said Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair the day after the boating accident.”It could be that he has information about events that would assist those coordinating the search and help bring some answers to Shaun’s family who are understandably very distressed.”
Meanwhile, Hogarth’s family said in a statement earlier this week: “We’re all together as a family and are hoping and praying that he’s safe somewhere and will be found soon.”
Although charges of theft have been brought forward, Hogarth’s family may have a valid claim against the two men who were charged. While authorities have not said what caused the vessel to flip over, Hogarth’s family may be entitled to seek some form of compensation against the surviving suspects.
Anyone who has been involved in a boating accident or the loved ones of those who have died at sea or as a result of any injuries is entitled to seek legal help. Our boat accident attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in protecting the rights of those involved in maritime accidents and work hard to help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your incident.
For more information on boat accident statistics and your rights as a victim, visit our Lipcon law firm blog and call to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced boating accident lawyers.