Five people are dead after a boat accident 75km (46.6 miles) to the north west of Auckland, in New Zealand. The incident occurred after a 12-metre chartered fishing boat capsized in Kaipara Harbour, North Island, at 3.30pm local time on Saturday (26 November).

New Zealand Police confirmed 11 people were on the vessel while at least six were rescued and received medical treatment.

In a statement, the force said: "The bodies of five people have been recovered from Kaipara Harbour following a maritime rescue operation today.

"The operation follows a report to emergency services at about 3.30pm that a vessel was overdue.

"Three other people have been rescued and are in hospital. A search for a further three people will continue.

"A shoreline search will continue for a few more hours."

It is not yet known whether the boat's captain, named locally as Bill McNatty, was among the dead.

The owner of a fellow Kaipara boat charter, Sharon Kostanich, said the incident had come as "a terrible shock".

"Bill's a friend," she told the New Zealand news outlet Stuff. "So, of course, we're very worried.

"It's a tragic thing to happen, terrible, and of course it really brings it home to us — you're out there in a boat responsible for so many people."

Another man, who asked not to be named, told the New Zealand Herald: "[He's] one of our friends so we don't want to give out too much information.

"It's a bit sad to miss one of our fellow skippers — well, we don't know yet — but it's a bit sad to hear what's happened.

"Just [feeling] for the families.''

Rod Bridge, the former skipper of the boat involved, also told the publication that the Francie was "an excellent little boat" but it should not have been in the harbour.

"It shouldn't have been out there," he said. "It was too rough, it's a terrible thing."

"I stayed home. The wind was coming up and the swell was coming up."

The New Zealand Meteorological Service said winds had been gusting up to 50 kilometres an hour in the harbour around the time of the accident.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission of New Zealand confirmed it had opened an inquiry into what it described as a "marine accident".

In a statement, it said: "The Commission's inquiry will seek to explain the circumstances and causes of the accident, with a view to helping prevent similar accidents in the future.

"The Commission is unable to confirm further details of this afternoon's events while the search and rescue operation continues."