Fisherman lucky to survive boat fire


A dramatic tale has emerged of a man who motored for dear life when his fishing boat caught fire off the Otago coast.

The boatie ran aground on a remote beach near Heyward Point, just before his vessel was completely engulfed.

St John paramedic Ian Ridley says the man used a flare to help the helicopter locate him, and was winched to safety.

"When we arrived he was sitting on the gravelly beach surrounded by 50 or so seals, he was pretty lucky. He's lost his boat; he was sitting on the beach looking a bit forlorn."

The man was uninjured, but suffered smoke inhalation.

Mr Ridley says the man was lucky to survive the fire as the boat was wooden.

"Fortunately the engine did keep running long enough even though it was on fire, that it carried the boat to shore.

"When we arrived there was no deck left, the wheelhouse was gone and it was just a smouldering hull sitting on the shore."