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Bid to refloat Jubilee abandoned

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/05/2016

A plan to salvage a sunken fishing boat that took three crew with it when it sank off the Canterbury coast has been abandoned due to bad weather and expenses.

Three people were killed when the FV Jubilee sank in October last year.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission in April tried to refloat the boat as part of an investigation into why it sank, but had to call the attempt off when bad weather caused damage to the balloons placed under the wreck to raise it.

On Friday, TAIC announced escalating costs and bad weather meant they wouldn't try again, instead opting to film the wreck on the sea floor and recover items from it.

"The weather patterns have deteriorated, so rather than face the risk of the Jubilee being stuck in shallow water in bad weather, we have decided to send the salvage divers down now," Commission chief investigator Captain Tim Burfoot said.

"The fact that the vessel is in shallower water is making the diving safer and easier."

Divers have been working at the site since Thursday and are expected to finish up on Friday or Saturday.

The final report is expected to be released some time after October.

The 90-tonne ship is sitting in the Canterbury Bight, 22km off the coast.

The bodies of the three crew members, Jared Reese Husband, 47, Paul Russell Bennett, 35, and Terry Donald Booth, 55, have been recovered.

The crew sent a distress call on the morning of October 18 from north of the Rakaia River mouth.

Searchers initially found an empty life raft and debris.

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