Crew rescued from sinking catamaran

JOSH FAGAN
Last updated 10:29 18/07/2014
Catamaran rescue
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RESCUE: A coastguard volunteer works to rescue four crew off a sinking catamaran.

Catamaran rescue
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TOW: The damaged catamaran is towed back to shore at Omaha, north of Auckland.
Catamaran rescue
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DAMAGED: Signs of wear and tear on the catamaran that was rescued near Great Barrier Island this morning.

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Four people were rescued from a catamaran that was on the verge of sinking off the coast of Little Barrier Island this morning.

The crew on the boat had left from Omaha early this morning and were heading to Great Barrier Island to go surfing, a Coastguard spokeswoman said.

The 18ft vessel had a cracked hull and was filling with water when the crew sent out a distress call just before 5.30am.

The crew were preparing to abandon ship when volunteers from Coastguard's Operations Centre arrived about 6.45am, a Coastguard spokeswoman said.

They then worked with the crew's skipper to help stem the flow of water, she said.

Three of the people onboard were transferred to Kawau Rescue to receive first aid treatment for a suspected hand injury, while two were treated for severe sea sickness.

Coastguard Duty Officer Mark Leevers said it was "touch and go" trying to keep the catamaran afloat.

Everyone was safe and had taken appropriate safety precautions with lifejackets and extra flotation devices, he said.

The catamaran was now being towed back to Omaha on the mainland.

A spokeswoman said it had been kept afloat with the aid of the catamaran's skipper and Coastguard volunteers and was due to reach shore about 10.30am. 

Leevers said it was a credit to those onboard for being prepared.

"The fact they had the right gear including reliable forms of communication meant they were able to call for help and we were able to respond immediately" he said.

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