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Crew told stories and joked to keep spirits alive, in shark infested ocean after fishing boat capsizes

Three people told stories and joked to keep their spirits alive whilst trapped in freezing, shark-infested waters after their fishing vessel capsized off the coast of the Chatham Islands.

The commercial fishing boat, Mary Ellen II, had only been at sea for two hours and had just started pulling in blue cod when the 10 metre long vessel was hit by a rogue wave from behind and flipped upside down on Friday morning, the NZ Herald reports.

There was about 300kg of blue cod on board.

Skipper Jason Braid, 47, told NZ Herald the ordeal was "pretty bloody scary".

"We were hanging onto the bow of the boat. The bow of the boat was dangling upside down," he said. "It was a bit awkward there wasn't any time to get life jackets or anything like that."

Mr Baird, as well as Keanu Reriti, 23, and 18-year-old Oceania Tuuta, shed their wet weather gear which was weighing them down.

"There was a wind chill too - getting all your wet weather gears off. I was in shorts, the deck hand was in boxers and the girl was just in tights and a top," Mr Baird told the NZ Herald.

Mr Braid said while they were in the water he wouldn't let the others think bad thoughts and instead kept insisting they would be rescued.

"I was praying and I'm not a praying man, but I was that day," he said.

More than two hours after the vessel capsized, the crew were rescued by a film crew who were in the area to get footage of great white sharks.

Mr Braid told the NZ Herald they couldn't have asked for a better rescue boat because there were also paramedics on-board who helped slowly warm them up with blankets and glucose drinks.

They also had hypothermia and cuts and bruises from being bashed against the boat.


Image taken in Isla Guadalupe in Mexico.
Source: istock.com