Volunteer firefighters rescued a van and a motorised wheelchair after they got stuck in sand near Baylys Beach as the tide was coming in.

Dargaville's deputy fire chief, Michael Ross, said the brigade was initially called to a crash, near Mahuta Gap, Rapiro Beach south of Baylys Beach. But when the brigade arrived shortly after 8am today they found a van sunk to its axles in sand. Nearby a double amputee was similarly stuck deep in the sand in an electric wheelchair.

The firefighters were able to get her back to the ramp and into the van, then towed the van onto firmer ground. The tide was just starting to come in, Ross said.

The rescued pair, a man in his 30s and a woman thought to be in her 50s, were embarrassed but unharmed.