One of the lifeboats carrying 45 people was holed when it ran into part of the wreckage from the ship. The hole was stuffed with the shirts of some of the men, and the lifeboat was kept afloat by bailing out the water.
The lifeboat then tried to land on the Three Kings but was smashed on a reef. All the occupants managed to make it to the shore. Another lifeboat floated clear as the Elingamite sank, and was able to rescue a number of survivors who were in the water.A third lifeboat landed on the Three Kings, on a beach at the bottom of some cliffs. Attempts to climb the cliffs and light a signal fire failed. 16 people ended up on the larger of the two rafts. This raft met up with the smaller raft, but the two soon lost contact with each other.The smaller raft managed to beach on the Great King Island along with another of the lifeboats. Once on land the survivors built some brush shelters and lit a signal fire. By 12:30 pm on 10 November the second lifeboat had reached Hohoura on the east coast. The First Officer had guided the boat with 52 survivors on board over a distance of 150 kilometres without a compass and in thick fog. On board also was the body of a woman who had died from exposure.A telegraph reporting the disaster was sent to Auckland, and several ships were sent to the Three Kings.