7 Oct 2014

One dead after Waiheke boat fire

7:30 pm on 7 October 2014

The Waiheke community had been trying to get a boat which burned down last night, claiming the life of one man, moved on, the Waiheke Boat Club says.

A post-mortem examination will be conducted tomorrow morning on the body of the man who died in the fire.

A second person received severe burns in the fire, which happened at about 9.30pm on Monday. That person was airlifted to Middlemore Hospital where he remained in a serious but stable condition.

Police have not yet identified the body of the man who died. They were continuing to examine the boat, which had been gutted by the fire, and were interviewing witnesses.

Waiheke Boat Club publicity officer Steve Alloway said the injured man was the owner of the 9-metre boat, and his previous boat had also caught fire a few months ago.

Local people asked the council four or five years ago to serve notices on the boats but they were not moved on.

He said some people felt unable to use the beach and neighbouring playground because of the mess and anti-social behaviour.

And he said the burned-out hulk that burned down previously was still there, and debris was breaking off it into the water.

Auckland Council coastal team leader Alan Moore said the boat was not known to its officials.

There had been complaints about boat owners using the Ostend Reserve for boat repairs and some incidents of anti-social behaviour but the council had not any dealings with the burned boat, he said.

"The vessel which had this tragic fire last night is not a vessel which was known to council, so it's not one which we've had any contact with.

"So we're assuming that it was a vessel which has recently arrived in the bay."

The Fire Service said its crews were at the scene near Causeway Road in Ostend until 4am this morning.

Shift manager Steve Smith said the fire took 45 minutes to put out.

He said none of the other boats moored nearby were at risk from the fire - the cause of which is not yet known.