Kiwi sailors who survived yacht fire return to New Zealand

Two New Zealand sailors who survived a yacht explosion are have returned to their families.

Murray Vereker-Bindon, 70, and Michael Boyd, 68, reportedly arrived in the country last weekend after being rescued from a leaking life raft in the Pacific Ocean.

The yacht (called Sunny Deck) that the two men exploded in flames between Tonga dan Rarotonga after an engine fire. They were travelling from Mexico to Auckland.

“Victor had a look around and opened the hatch to the engine room where a fire was raging,” said Bindon. “As soon as he opened the door smoke billowed and poured into the cabins and Victor’s shouts of ‘fire fire’ were what the guys woke up to.”

The yacht reportedly had an LPG gas and 700 litres of diesel, so the men needed to move as far as they could. They heard the explosion hours later.

The two returned home with their Mexican skipper Victor Campos.

“I didn’t expect to arrive in a container ship,” Mr Vereker-Bindon joked.

“We were halfway between Tonga and Rarotonga and Victor smelt smoke … We triggered the electronic signal, the EPIRB (locator beacon), and our life jackets and put them on.”

The three men were rescued by Liberian-flagged container ship MV Cap Capricorn last June 24th, at around 3am.

The emergency beacon was reportedly still registered to the previous owner with German details, so the alert was originally received by the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Bremen. It was eventually received by New Zealand authorities.

“They were doing well. Dad said he was finding it hard to sleep, it’s all bit surreal at the moment,” said Matthew Bidon, Vereker-Bindon’s son.