Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Dinghy link to Brown's Island mystery confirmed

Do you recognise this dinghy? Police are seeking sightings and the owner of this dinghy in relation to a mysterious fire on Brown's Island last week. Photo / Supplied
Do you recognise this dinghy? Police are seeking sightings and the owner of this dinghy in relation to a mysterious fire on Brown's Island last week. Photo / Supplied

A dinghy found floating near Brown's Island may be connected to the mysterious fire there, police have confirmed.

The Herald revealed yesterday that a dinghy had been found in the area after a woman claimed to be deserted on the island for four days, and lit a fire to gain the attention of rescuers.

The fire grew out of control, and crews spent more than two days extinguishing the blaze which razed 13 hectares of the uninhabited island.

Mystery has surrounded the perplexing case of the 38-year-old woman - because she has not revealed how she got there or why she was there.

The island is about 5.5km from St Heliers and 1.3km from Little Buckland's Beach, and it is not believed the woman would have been able to swim there.

Auckland Police Detective Sergeant John De Heer today confirmed police were looking for the owners of a dinghy found in the area.

"Police are wanting to find the owners of a dinghy found last week near Brown's Island, as inquiries continue into how a woman came to be on the island," he said.

"A white dinghy with an orange-coloured trim, and no oars or motor, was seen floating between Browns Island and Musick Point around 3.30pm last Monday (October 31)."

Police Maritime Unit Deodar received a phone call from a person reporting the dinghy floating, so Deodar located it and towed it back to Auckland.

"This was found on the same day the woman says she was left stranded on Browns Island, so we're to keen hear of any sightings of the dinghy between Browns Island and Musick Point on October 31.

"Obviously one possible line of inquiry being considered is the woman reached the island by dinghy and it is, in some way, connected to the inquiry."

"We also have no indication of who owns the dinghy so we're keen to return it to its owners," he said.

He says the woman has recovered from her experience and it is too early to say whether or not any charges may result from the fire.

Police would like to hear from anyone who has information about the dinghy by contacting Auckland Crime Squad on 09 302 6557 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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