BREAKING NEWS

Five dead after boat capsizes off New Zealand coast

Five people died in New Zealand on Saturday when a boat carrying 11 capsized off Kaikoura, a coastal town on South Island, according to police.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported that Kaikoura Mayor Craig Mackle believed the boat was overturned by a whale. However, police did not confirm the cause.

"This is a tragic event that affects many lives, not least of all families and loved ones," Mackle said at a press conference, according to RNZ.

"We've shut the harbour down so that they can carry on working," he added.

The exact circumstances surrounding the incident will be subject to an investigation, which will involve multiple agencies, Sergeant Matt Boyce of the Kaikoura police said in a statement.

Police were working to formally identify the victims and no names were released. Six survivors were taken to Kaikoura Health Centre and one was transferred to Christchurch Hospital as a precaution, the police said.

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