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Tuesday 18 June, 2024
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Diana Stewart sent HORRIFFIC final photo before whale slammed her boat and killed

BY Anas Shah Sep 12, 2022. 06:11 pm UPDATED: Sep 12, 2022. 06:11 pm

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The heartbreaking last image a talented photographer captured only hours before she perished when a breaching whale capsized the boat she was on has been made public by her family. Diana Stewart, age 68, was one of five people who died on a boat expedition that the Nature Photographic Society organised on Saturday morning at Goose Bay, near Kaikoura, on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island.

An 8.5-meter charter boat carrying 11 people over the age of 50 was capsized by a whale at around 10 am local time as they were taking pictures of albatrosses. The captain and the other six people on board were all saved, and after being examined, they were all released from the hospital. Stewart took a stunning photograph of the fateful ship before boarding it.

With the Nature Photographic Society, the Christchurch-based photographer frequently explored New Zealand’s picturesque locales. Her son Fletcher Stewart stated that his mother “wanted to do the Kaikoura boat voyage for years.” “Diana was a really excellent photographer and enjoyed travelling to distant areas of New Zealand to take what would always turn out to be unique photos of landscapes and wildlife,” he said in an interview with Stuff.

Diana Stewart

“Mum made many close friends through their shared passion; they remember her kindness and generosity. She always helped new photographers who were just starting out, and was always there with guidance and advice.” Fletcher said his mother’s talents also extended to fashion, painting and craft. He added the family would remember his ‘wonderful’ mother ‘most for her kindness, her caring and generosity’. “Her number one priority was family and was always there when we needed her.”

Stewart died after the fishing boat they were on capsized, along with Christchurch resident Peter Charles Hockley, Lower Hutt resident Cathye Haddock, and her dependable companion Susan Cade. Five victims of the tragedy have yet to be identified. Police have not yet identified the reason of the boat’s capsize, but they suspect a breaching whale. An NZ police dive team arrived at the scene about two hours after the remains were retrieved from the 10°C water on Saturday and brought to land. Five bodies were discovered inside the stateroom at around 4 o’clock, and the boat was towed into port. In the devastating photos, one passenger could be seen sitting on top of the capsized boat as he awaited help.

Kaikoura Mayor Craig Mackle claimed that a whale had appeared from beneath the boat in light of previous reports of enormous whale sightings in the area. He said there were a lot of sperm and humpback whales in the area, but he wasn’t sure what kind of whale might have hit the ship.

Diana Stewart

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“We have an upturned boat tipped over by a whale from what we can understand, come up from underneath,” Mackle said. The mayor added that he had thought in the past about the possibility of a boat and whale colliding, given the number of whales that frequent the area. He added the water was ‘bloody cold’ and the outcome for anybody who had fallen overboard was not likely to be good. “This is a tragic event that affects many lives, not least of all families and loved ones. Our heartfelt sorrow and condolences to you all. I would like to thank everyone involved in the rescue and the recovery. Being able to bring everyone home is the best result in such a terrible circumstance.”

 

 

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