As an Auckland woman approached a boat engulfed flames on the Manukau Harbour on Sunday, all she could see was a man standing on the bow waving his hands and a young boy in the water.
The woman, who didn't want to be named, had just finished fishing with her partner and friends when they noticed smoke in the distance - initially not sure if it was coming from the land or sea.
"We went a bit closer to look, then we were like holy s**t, it's a boat on fire so we flew over there.
"As we got closer we could see the silhouette of the boat in between all the smoke."
A family of three was out on the water about 300m offshore from Āwhitu in Auckland when their 4.5m boat's engine exploded and the engine cowling flew off and hit the father in the head.
Back on shore, someone who heard the explosion and saw black smoke called emergency services.
Flames engulfed the vessel, forcing the family to retreat to the bow and eventually jump overboard into the water.
The fire sparked a large emergency services response - including Coastguard, St John, Police and the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
The Auckland resident and her friends got to the family first.
"I have this image of [the father] waving his arms in the air. He was on the front of the boat. The boy was already in the water.
"[The boat] was smoked. There were quite a few flames."
The woman and her friends pulled the family onto their boat. The young boy was freezing cold and appeared to be shaking due to shock.
"When we were up close, getting them out of the water, the smoke was just burning my eyes."
The group took the family back to shore, dropping them at the Matakawau Pt Boat Ramp, where they were assessed by paramedics for minor injuries.
"They were just thankful, very thankful, and lucky we were there at the right time. We happened to be there at the right time."
Nigel Griffiths, one of the volunteer Coastguard crew who responded to the incident, said the family was very lucky.
"It could've been a very different outcome if things hadn't gone their way.
"[The man] just kept reliving how quickly it went and how lucky they were that there was no one at the back of the boat when it happened. Just a stroke of luck that everyone was up the front."
Coastguard crew went to the scene to check on the boat, but it had sunk by the time they got there.
"We did recover a smouldered chilly bin that still had fish in it."