News

Deckhand questioned after burning trawler sinks yacht

AS toxic smoke billowed from the burning longliner the Kim Ocean, Amy Reko stepped off a nearby yacht she was staying on and called triple-0.

It was by chance that her friend's luxury 48-foot yacht, the Owl and the Pussycat was moored behind the Coffs Harbour Fishermen's Co-op.

The yacht's skipper, Deano Gillespie, had just purchased the vessel from Sydney and was on his maiden voyage to Tweed Heads when a strong southerly forced him to take shelter in the harbour.

He remained on the vessel as the nearby trawler exploded into flames early yesterday.

"It was just surreal. As the firefighters tried to put the flames out the trawler broke from its mooring and began arcing around the harbour and crashed straight into the yacht," Ms Reko said.

"I could only watch as Deano dived overboard; he was just so lucky.

"The boat ended up on top of the yacht and with the motor still running pushed it across to the other side of the marina. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Coffs Harbour Fire Station Officer Mark Rose said firefighters were on board the burning boat when flames engulfed the electrical wiring and apparently caused the engine to start automatically.

"Firefighter Tim George was on the boat with a hose and was starting to make headway on the fire," Mark said.

"Fortunately when the motor powered up to full throttle he lept off and grabbed a chain wire as the boat broke from its bow line, spun out of control and ploughed into the yacht. It was absolute carnage."

In a turn of good fortune, the burning wreckage spun away from multi-million dollar vessels moored in the marina and crashed into the southern inner wall.

As insurers yesterday valued the damage at half-a-million dollars, the fire-damaged trawler sat mounted on top of the sunken yacht.

As the salvage was planned, just the mast of the yacht was visible.

"We are treating this fire as suspicious," Coffs Harbour Water Police Sergeant Don Stewart said.

Police said crew members of the Southport-based fishing trawler have been questioned.

Reports indicate a deck hand hindered fire crews from extinguishing the blaze.

He ended up in hospital after he was assaulted by other crew members at the scene.

The incident was captured by Customs and the Co-op security cameras and police say the footage will offer vital evidence to the investigation.

Topics:  coffs editors picks fire fishing trawler



VIDEO: Waterspout signals start of wet week

As the weather starts to turn to rain, Travis Armstrong snapped this photo of a waterspout that appeared over Main Beach at Minnie Water on Sunday.

A rare sight spotted off the coast at Minnie Water

The East Timorese man bringing smiles to Coffs kids

"The kids here are very intelligent and clever. They have a lot of equipment to teach with here, but back in my school they have nothing. It's very new to me,” said Serafim.

Serafim has become a favourite among the kids at a local Pre-School.

Lightning causes delay at the races

Grafton's  Riding Club will host this year's Spring All Breeds competition

Lightning and rain cause disruption to today's TAB race meeting.

Local Partners

The East Timorese man bringing smiles to Coffs kids

"The kids here are very intelligent and clever. They have a lot of equipment to teach with here, but back in my school they have nothing. It's very new to...


REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

The true cause of the Oscars bungle

THE Oscars have ended with a moment that left everyone speechless — but not in a way anyone expected.

HUGE OSCARS FAIL: Wrong film handed Best Picture award

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

IN A monumental stuff-up, La La Land incorrectly named Best Picture.

Blue Heelers' Ditch Davey joins 800 Words cast

Ditch Davey joins the cast of 800 Words as Terry, the younger brother of George, played by Erik Thomson.

George Turner's brother, Terry, arrives to Weld with a 'few demons'

Oscars winners 2017: Full list of Academy Award winners

Viola Davis accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for Fences at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

WHO won Oscars this year? Here’s a full list of every winner.

Why can’t Nicole Kidman clap properly?

Nicole Kidman's style of clapping has puzzled Oscars viewers.

FOR some reason, it seems Nicole doesn’t really know how to clap.

Muslim actor makes Oscars history

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for Moonlight at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

MOONLIGHT star Mahershala Ali makes Academy Award history.

NO ONE OFF LIMITS: Kimmel burns down the house at Oscars

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

HOST delivers a torrent of abuse on Hollywood’s night of nights.

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

A taste of the country life without the hard work

HERITAGE PARK: This home on the cover of the Real Estate Property Guide has everything you love about semi-rural living.

Get a taste of the country life without all the hard work

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!