Home' Greymouth Star : November 5th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Thursday, November 5, 2015
The skipper of a 7.5m yacht which
disappeared in Foveaux Strait in April
last year with himself and two German
tourists aboard had limited sailing
experience and said he had taught
himself to sail by watching You Tube
clips, his work colleague said.
A coroner’s inquest in Invercargill
yesterday was told Andre Kinzler,
33, either did not hear or ignored a
weather forecast for gale-force winds,
high seas, rain and poor visibility when
he decided to set sail from Bluff on
April 16, and did not carry a fixed radio
which would have enabled him to call
for help when he struck trouble.
After hearing from half a dozen
witnesses, coroner David Crerar said
his prelimary view was Mr Kinzler and
his passengers Lea Tietz and Veronika
Steudler, both 19, died on or about
April 16 in Foveaux Strait after the
yacht Munetra sank.
The vessel and the bodies have never
been found, despite an exhaustive
search at the time and ongoing
Ms Tietz’s mother, Anke Tietz, was
in court, assisted by an interpreter.
Mr Crerar said his formal finding
would be given to the families before
being released to the media.
Winton dairy farm manager Cody
Hunt said Mr Kinzler already owned
the Munetra when he went to work on
the farm in May 2013.
Mr Kinzler told his work colleagues
he moored the Munetra at Bluff and
talked about looking at You Tube
clips to pick up sailing techniques,
about sailing it once or twice in
Bluff Harbour, and about making a
successful voyage to Stewart Island.
In March last year he told them he
had attempted to sail to Preservation
Inlet, on the southern tip of Fiordland,
with two more experienced sailors but
turned back because of bad weather.
Mr Hunt said Ms Tietz spent about
a week at the farm with Mr Kinzler in
March last year and Mr Kinzler told
his colleagues of the plan for himself,
Ms Tietz and her friend Ms Stuedler
to sail to Preservation Inlet.
“ We told him how rough the
seas could be in Foveaux Strait and
Fiordland and to ‘sit it out ’ if the
weather turned bad,” Mr Hunt said.
He said Mr Kinzler had mentioned
problems with the yacht ’s auxiliary
motor but believed Mr Kinzler had
fixed it before the trip in April.
Bluff Fishermen’s Radio operator
Marie L eask described Mr Kinzler as
a “poor communicator” who had not
talked to her before he left about his
trip, his precise intended destination or
the weather forecast.
She said Mr Kinzler texted her about
1pm on April 16 saying he was headed
for Preser vation Inlet.
“I replied and asked had he checked
the forecast as it was bad. In my view,
the weather was marginal for a yacht
of that size.”
She received another text after 7pm
from someone saying they were near
Centre Island, off Colac Bay, and “all
She texted him back asking if the
message was from Munetra.
“He said it was and apologised for his
poor communications . . .”
The last message from Mr Kinzler
was another text to Mrs Leak about
Mr Kinzler “didn’t seem to understand
the importance of communicating
where he was going” and did not
understand the fisherman’s radio
service system, Mrs Leask said.
He also should have had a fitted radio
on board rather than just a hand-held
radio and a cellphone which were
unusable in most parts of Foveaux
Strait and Fiordland because of a lack
of coverage. Through her intepreter,
Mrs Tietz asked whether Mr Kinzler
would have, or should have, been aware
of the weather forecast, and whether
Mrs Leask had told him about it after
his text at 1pm.
Mrs Leask said she had no chance
to tell him about it before he left
Bluff. Detailed marine forecasts were
broadcast twice daily by herself and
also available elsewhere including on
“All he had to do was listen to a
forecast, or just ask me if he missed the
Bluff locals also regularly talked about
the weather with anyone planning to
leave port, she said.
To Mr Crerar, she said unlike many
other skippers, Mr Kinzler had never
talked to her in person about his trips
or his plans since he had owned the
Munetra. Neither had they met.
“If I had had a chance to talk to him
(on April 16), I would have told him
the sea that day was no place for a small
The trio was due back at Bluff on
April 22 and had arranged for another
German tourist, Julie Islei, to meet
them. When they did not turn up
that day or the next, the police were
Search co-ordinator sergeant David
Kennelly said an area of 80,000 square
nautical miles was searched over 11
days by air, sea and on land.
A liferaft in bad condition was found
washed up on a Stewart Island beach
on May 2 and a squab identified as
being from the Munetra was found
near Monkey Island, Te Waewae Bay,
on May 6.
Detective sergeant John Kean said
there was nothing in Mr Kinzler’s
background to indicate he had
any sinister intentions towards his
passengers, who it appeared had gone
with him “as part of their adventure” in
— Otago Daily Times
The lost yacht Munetra.
Skipper learned to sail off You Tube
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Located in central Greymouth, the Rec has
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catering for groups and individual needs.
“On Christmas Day we will provide a
Christmas smorgasbord lunch with all the
trimmings, which includes chook, ham, turkey
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perfect setting for business functions leading
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finger food delivered on site to workplaces as
“Groups can eat out in the restaurant, and
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The Paroa Hotel provides an upmarket,
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“The smorgasbord is a large two-course
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Newly painted and renovated, the Jacksons
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as catering for functions and private functions
for seating up to 60 people.
“Our chef Simon Kirkwood and his team
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“It is a great relaxing atmosphere with
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The Westport-based company operating
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The Moana Hotel offers a traditional West
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and over the Christmas period will have
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