Stricken launch comes to fiery end
Two people escaped with only mild smoke inhalation after their boat caught fire in the Hauraki Gulf and eventually sank.
Coastguard Northern Region was alerted to the blaze at 6.10pm last Wednesday when the occupants of the 45ft launch reported their vessel was on fire near to Crusoe Rock, in between Waiheke and Motuihe islands.
First on the scene was Coastguard vessel Waiheke Rescue.
Senior master Guy Brown says the man and woman had already abandoned ship and climbed into their dinghy.
"They were picked up by another launch that had been fishing in the area. Once we ascertained they were OK, we were tasked to fight the fire.
"We were joined a few minutes later by Howick Rescue and eventually the police arrived with some Auckland city firefighters, who took over scene command."
Mr Brown says his crew had managed to get the fire under control and started to tow the boat so it could be beached.
"But half way across to Park Point the vessel repeatedly flared up, then filled up and sank."
The pair who were rescued were taken to Auckland and treated for smoke inhalation.
The community raised $9100 for the Waiheke Coastguard unit in its annual raffle last month.
The raffle and the coastguard May Day appeal are the unit's primary source of funding, which is used to train the crew and maintain its vessel, Waiheke Rescue.
Crew chief Rob Henry says: "Waiheke Volunteer Coastguard would like to thank the many people who supported our local unit by buying raffle tickets, and those who are planning to donate to our appeal in May.
"The fire on board the vessel last week, and the crew's response and capable skills, show this money is a very good investment in the safety on the sea surrounding Waiheke."
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