Dramatic footage shows dangerous helicopter rescue of two Waikato fishermen

Dramatic footage shows the moment two fishermen were rescued off stranded rocks at a Waikato beach during an incoming tide and large swells. 

The men became stuck on the offshore rocks at around 11:15am while fishing off Port Waikato's Sunset Beach on Monday. 

Video footage shows huge waves crashing over the two men, as a Westpac Rescue Helicopter works to airlift the pair to safety. 

The pair are successfully airlifted, as one large wave crashes over the rock, sweeping their gear and belongings into the ocean. 

Video footage soon after the rescue shows the rock completely underwater - a scary representation of the pair's possible fate. 

The large swells made it extremely difficult for both lifeguards and emergency services. 

The men were rescued off the rocks after becoming stranded during an incoming tide.
The men were rescued off the rocks after becoming stranded during an incoming tide. Photo credit: Maria Timmermans

It was a mission which Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service described as a "major rescue". 

"Lifeguards were preparing to go on patrol and spotted fishermen on rocks with incoming tide and large seas," they said in a Facebook post. 

Once lifeguards reached the rocks where the fishermen were, one crewman swam in to assess further. 

"There were two fishermen on the rocks in serious distress with no way of getting off the rocks. The swell was too large to safely affect a rock rescue given the patients' lack of swimming ability and English," they said. 

Police confirmed with Newshub that the men were taken back to shore at around 1:20pm, where an ambulance assessed them. 

Fishermen stranding themselves on rocks is a problem the lifeguards face regularly, said Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service. 

"Usually, the fishermen have no water experience, poor communication, and no understanding of the danger they are putting themselves in."