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Mangawhai Bar rescue highlights issues


trimaran mangawhai bar 2016-700Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service (MHVLS) after hours call-out squad were notified by Surf Life Saving Northern Region surf com at 6.20pm on August 24 of a suspected yacht that had run aground on the Mangawhai Bar.

Conditions were rough with light rain and strong Northerly winds.

MHVLS lifeguards Murray Dix, Mark Vercoe and Neil McInnes were the first on the scene at Mangawhai Heads beach, spotting a trimaran that had grounded around 500 metres south of the bar.

Lifeguards Tony Baker, Alex Tidyman and Jon Drucker had also responded and set up base at the MHVLS clubhouse, with Baker taking control of communications.

Rough conditions prevented the Sea Rider rescue craft navigating the bar so they beached at the mouth of the harbour and sent lifeguard Neil McInnes by land to the stranded vessel.

Two people were on board and although cold and wet, they were unharmed.

The trimaran was grounded in a metre of water, and at first the crew wanted to stay on board the vessel and attempt to enter the Mangawhai Harbour later when the tide had come in.

However after some discussion the crew were taken back to the Mangawhai Surf Club to warm up.

Once the tide had filled in, the Sea Rider crew assisted the stranded and damaged vessel into the harbour, reaching dry land at 10.30pm.

“This is the third sailing vessel that has run aground at Mangawhai Heads in the past 12 months – another yacht sank on the bar just a few weeks ago,” said Tony Baker. “Parts of that vessel are still submerged at the harbour entrance.

“This highlights the issue of poor preparedness and lack of knowledge of weather and local conditions by boaties leading to dangerous after-hours search and rescue on the Mangawhai Coast.

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