Dramatic helicopter footage shows man winched to safety from rocks at Auckland's Bethells Beach

Incredible footage captured by the Police Eagle Helicopter has emerged showing the moment an Auckland fisherman had to be rescued after a night rock fishing trip went wrong.  

Police received a report of a person stuck on rocks near Tangihau Point at Bethells Beach just before 2am on Friday. 

The Police Eagle Helicopter was deployed and observed the fisherman, who was unable to get back to safety due to the changing tide.  

A second chopper, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, was called, along with Police Search and Rescue teams, with the man being picked up "safe and well".  

Dramatic helicopter footage shows man winched to safety from rocks at Auckland's Bethells Beach
Photo credit: Supplied / NZ Police

Now, footage has emerged of the dramatic rescue showing the precious situation the man was in.   

The video shows waves crashing over the rocks where the man is standing and struggling to keep his balance, while the crew onboard the Eagle helicopter can be heard commentating on the situation.   

"You can see the waves getting pretty close to going over that rock", one of crew members says.  

As the footage continues and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrives, a crewman is winched down to rescue the fisher from the rocks and bring him to safety.  

"As you can probably see, they've managed to get him off the rocks, just taking him onboard now," a crew member onboard the Eagle helicopter can be heard saying.   

Dramatic helicopter footage shows man winched to safety from rocks at Auckland's Bethells Beach
Photo credit: Supplied / NZ Police

Police thought man would die on rocks   

Given the treacherous conditions, police weren't confident the man would survive the dramatic ordeal.  

"Our team onboard of Eagle were monitoring the dangerous conditions on the water," Air Support Unit Supervisor Sergeant Mark Jamieson told Newshub in a statement. 

"It is incredibly lucky our staff did not have to inform a family their loved one wasn't coming home. However, it doesn't always end with good news."   

Police are urging anyone who goes rock fishing to be aware of their surroundings, especially on West Coast beaches.   

"The combination of its remote location, slippery rocks, and unpredictable sea conditions creates a perilous environment even for the most experienced fishers," Senior Sergeant Garry Larsen, of the Auckland Maritime Unit, told Newshub. 

"We have seen too many tragedies unfold in such high-risk areas."  

Water safety tips

The dramatic rescue has seen police issue a reminder to keen rock fishermen about the importance of water safety.   

Rock fishing is a popular pastime but police warn it can be "extremely dangerous" if people aren't prepared.   

Snr Sgt Larsen gave some important reminders for rock fishermen including wearing a life jacket even though they're not in the water.   

"Make sure you've checked tide and swell information before heading out, so you're not caught off guard," Sen Sgt Larsen said.  

"You should also never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas."   

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Attending Air Crew Officer Callan Carn-Bennett reiterated the message police gave.  

"Unfortunately, we are seeing far too many incidents of people requiring rescue from precarious locations," Carn-Bennett said.   

"It's important you know what you are doing and know how to use your gear before attempting to fish from rocks in areas that may be too risky." 

The rescue is the latest in a string of incidents on west coast beaches.

Last month, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter executed a dramatic rescue mission plucking two fishermen off a rock near Sunset Beach in Port Waikato.

While further south, a large-scale search operation was launched after a fisherman was washed off rocks at Papanui Point near Raglan.

The rescue at Papanui Point came after a joint warning was issued by the Department of Conservation, Waikato District Council and Water Safety New Zealand last year, describing it as "a location known to claim lives".