60 rescued following Whakatāne ferry fire

Image / Coastguard Whakatāne website

At 3:45pm emergency services received reports of a ferry on fire off the coast of Whakatāne.  They have now confirmed 53 passengers and seven crew members were on board.

The blaze took hold of the vessel forcing those on board to jump into the water.

A Coastguard boat and a number of small local vessels went out to assist in recovering passengers and crew from the water.

A helicopter carried out a sweep of the water to confirm everyone had been rescued.

The passenger manifest has been checked against those rescued from the water and everyone is accounted for.

One person has been taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and one for a minor injury caused by jumping from the boat.