Third rescue at Mangawhai Bar in a year

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Two men were rescued from a trimaran after it ran aground on Mangawhai Bar in rough seas.
Two men were rescued from a trimaran after it ran aground on Mangawhai Bar in rough seas.

Mangawhai lifeguards had to rescue two men from a trimaran after it ran aground on Mangawhai Bar in rough seas.

The rescue, on Wednesday evening, was the third the Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service (MHVLS) had carried out on yachts stranded on the notorious bar in the past year.

Service spokesman Tony Baker said that at 6.20pm on Wednesday the MHVLS' after-hours call-out squad were notified by Surf Com of a yacht that had run aground on the Mangawhai Bar.

Conditions were rough with a 1.5-2m swell and there was light rain and strong northerly winds, he said.

Lifeguards Murray Dix, Mark Vercoe and Neil McInnes were the first on the scene at Mangawhai Heads beach and spotted a trimaran grounded about 500m south of the Mangawhai Bar.

The lifeguards launched the service's Sea Rider rescue vessel.

Mr Baker, Alex Tidyman and Jon Drucker had also responded and set up base at the MHVLS clubhouse, with Mr Baker controlling communications between the rescue vessel and Surf Com.

The Sea Rider attempted to navigate the Mangawhai Bar but conditions were too rough so they beached at the mouth of the harbour and sent Mr McInnes by land to the stranded vessel.

Two people were on board and, although they were 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 and try to enter the Mangawhai Harbour later when the tide had come in.

"However, after some discussion the crew of the grounded vessel were taken back to the Mangawhai Surf Club to warm up," Mr Baker said.

When the tide had come in the Sea Rider crew helped bring the stranded and damaged vessel into the harbour, with the help of the two sailors.

They reached dry land at 10.30pm.

"This is the third sailing vessel that has run aground in Mangawhai Heads in the last 12 months. Just last week another yacht sank on the Mangawhai Bar, and the vessel broke up into sections due to large swells. Parts of this vessel are still submerged at the harbour entrance," Mr Baker said.

"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 rescues on the Mangawhai Coast. From my perspective it's a silly mistake that can be very costly."

- Northern Advocate

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