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Yachties injured in Auckland incidents

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 20:54 19/02/2014
yacht
MARYKE PENMAN/Fairfax NZ

ROCKY ENDING: The yacht stranded on rocks while trying to enter the narrow estuary into Milford Marina.

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Three people have been injured after a yacht caught fire, another grounded and another was dismasted in three separate incidents on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour today.

In the first incident the engine of a 45-foot (13-metre) yacht sailing near the southwest corner of Waiheke Island caught fire about 6pm.

The two people on board the yacht were able to evacuate and board a dinghy and were subsequently picked up by a member of the public and then rescue crews. 

The pair were taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, Coastguard duty officer Mark Leevers said.

In the second incident the Team Vodafone yacht was dismasted. 

Leevers said Coastguard received a call at 6.09pm saying there was one person injured on board.

The police maritime unit and paramedics headed out to the vessel where they assisted a person with rib and pelvis injuries.

The third incident is ongoing with a yacht grounded near the entrance to Milford Creek.

Leevers said the yacht had grounded about midday and rescue crews were waiting for high tide to re-float the vessel. 

Onlookers say they watched as the 'Jim Beam' attempted to enter the narrow estuary leading into the Milford Marina this afternoon.

Rough seas and an outgoing tide saw the boat get into trouble at the mouth of the estuary, at the far north end of the beach, before keeling over onto its side on shallow rocks around 50m offshore.

A Milford Cruising Club member, who would not be named, says it appears the young man, believed to be the only one on board, has misjudged the tide.

"It's not the first time it has happened. I'd say we see this type of thing about once or twice a year. It can happen to the most experienced sailors, it's not easy coming in here," he says.

At 4pm, five people were standing in knee deep water helping the skipper to secure the yacht as they waited for the tide to come back in.

Aside from paint damage and scratches to the hull, he says it is not a major.

"There's not much we can do for him at the moment. He's not hurt, but I don't think he'll be too happy about having his photo in the North Shore Times."

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- Fairfax Media

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