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Tinnie couple lucky to be alive

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014
Broken tinnie
Guy Brown
BATTERED BOAT: The remains of the 14ft tinnie are hauled on to the harbour master’s barge. The tinnie was struck by a 45ft launch near Sergeants Channel.

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Two boaties are lucky to be alive after being thrown overboard when a 45ft launch hit their tinnie in the Hauraki Gulf.

The couple had left Half Moon Bay for a day out fishing in a 14ft aluminium runabout on Friday.

Waiheke Rescue skipper Guy Brown says his crew had just completed a job at Half Moon Bay when the May Day went out at 1.05pm.

It came from a fishing charter vessel, the Black Star, which was near the collision just to the north of Sergeants Channel.

"We heard two people were in the water clinging to the debris and sped over to Church Bay," Mr Brown says. "The Black Star skipper is also a Coastguard volunteer so knew the protocol.

"He had pulled the couple out of the water by the time we arrived, so we dropped off two of our crew to do first aid and stabilise them until a Westpac helicopter paramedic and a doctor arrived in the police launch."

The 52-year-old man and 44-year-old woman were treated for back injuries and a fractured pelvis, then taken to Auckland Hospital where they are stable.

Mr Brown says: "I think they are lucky to be alive.

"When you look at the remains of the boat - if they had got trapped inside the wreckage, they would have been pulled underneath the launch that hit their tinny."

Waiheke Rescue remained to see to the launch which sustained minor damage, including a fouled prop and disabled engines.

Both its occupants were shaken but all right.

The remains of the tinny were towed back to Matiatia.

Mr Brown says an accident report will be filed with Maritime New Zealand.

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