NEWS — Three rescued from burning cruiser off Tweed Heads

NEWS - Three rescued from burning cruiser off Tweed Heads

Tuesday, July 12: At around 11am, a 40ft cruiser 11nm off the coast at Tweed Heads, NSW, caught fire forcing the crew to abandon ship.

The three people onboard, two men and a woman, launched a jetski and escaped from the burning boat.

The heavy plume of smoke from the incident was seen by volunteers at Marine Rescue Point Danger observation station and a crew of four made a high-speed dash for the cruiser in Point Danger One, their 11.3m (36ft) Naiad RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat).

A local charterboat also saw the dense, black smoke and made for the stricken cruiser, where they found the three safe on the jetski. The charterboat stood by until Marine Rescue Point Danger arrived and took the survivors onboard.

With the jetski in tow, Point Danger 1 returned to Point Danger near 3pm to a large crowd of onlookers, and both NSW and Queensland Police who will investigate the incident.

Bernie Gabriel, unit commander at Marine Rescue Point Danger said: “The three people saved were very lucky they had the jetski onboard.

“Only the dense smoke alerted us to the emergency. The seas were up and although our rescue boat is a high-speed response unit it took over an hour to reach the scene. This is a local boat from Tweed Heads.

“The skipper hadn’t logged-on before leaving and if the emergency hadn’t been so visible, it may have been some time before the alarm was raised.

“I urge every skipper who goes offshore to log-on with Marine Rescue Point Danger.

“Tell us where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Then when you get back, tell us you’re home safe.

“If we don’t know you’re out there, we won’t know if you’re not back when you intended and by the time someone reports you missing, it may be too late,” he said.