Coastguard Volunteers rescue man following boat explosion
Shortly before 2200 hours last night Coastguard Radio received a distress relay call from a vessel who had been alerted
someone in trouble on a nearby boat near Huhuri bay of Waiheke Island. The Coastguard Operations Centre quickly tasked
ASB Rescue and Lion Foundation to the incident, responding at best speed given the dark and choppy conditions.
Twenty minutes after the original call Coastguard Volunteer Chris Griggs boarded the yacht to find a man wrapped in a
duvet in the shower on-board his yacht, he was in severe pain and suffering from mild hypothermia. Whilst attending to
the man Chris quickly found out the man had significant burns to his body following an explosion with the man able to
explain that an explosion had occurred in the engine room, it quickly became clear that he’d been engulfed by a fire
ball whilst existing the engine room. “The fire had caused significant burns to his lower body, he had done the right
thing in getting wet and sitting under the cold water but in doing so had started to go hypothermic and was in immense
pain” said Mr Griggs. As a trained medic Chris was able to administer the man with a level of pain relief that then
enabled the crew to move the patient to Lion Foundation Rescue then once further stabilised he was quickly taken by the
Coastguard Rescue Vessel to Kennedy Point where they met the Auckland Rescue Helicopter team and the patient was taken
to the burns unit at Middlemore Hospital.
The incident didn’t end here for the volunteer crews, given the fire that had occurred on-board the vessel ASB Rescue
stayed with the Yacht and awaited the return of Lion Foundation Rescue with Firefighters on-board to ensure any hot
spots were out. ASB Rescue then stayed nearby overnight with the unaccompanied yacht which has today been looked after
by friends of the man.
The outcome could have been a lot worse for the boatie who lives aboard his vessel and was attending to some maintenance
in his engine room when the incident occurred. “Situations like these certainly see your training kick in, it’s huge
credit to the volunteer crews involved in the incident, we’ve given the man the best chance of survival in responding
how we did and wish him all the best with his recovery” says Mr Griggs.