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Fatal Waiheke fire: cabin gone in 'minutes'

A neighbour tried desperately to put out a fatal fire onboard a house-boat moored at Waiheke Island last night.

One person died and a man is in a critical condition after the 30ft launch caught fire at the Waiheke Boat Club at around 9.30pm.

Ben Foster-Christie who lives on a boat nearby has told ONE News the owner of the boat John Walker, who's known locally as "Craka", knocked on his window last night calling for help.

"I looked out and the owner was there, burnt face and arms quite badly, saying there was somebody on the boat."

Mr Foster-Christie then tried to put out the blaze with his fire extinguisher but it was too well involved for it to help.

"Within a couple of minutes the whole cabin was practically gone."

He says Mr Walker had only been living on the boat for about three months after the boat he was living on before was also destroyed by fire. It's not yet known what caused the fire.

Mr Walker was taken to Middlemore Hospital with burns to his body. Middlemore Hospital say his condition has improved and he is expected to be transferred to the National Burn Centre today or tomorrow.

"He was in quite a bit of distress at the time. I expect he was in a hell of a lot of pain," says Mr Foster-Christie.

Police haven't formally identified the dead man. A post mortem will be carried out tomorrow.

One man is dead and another seriously injured following a blaze which destroyed a nine meter launch. Source: 1 NEWS


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