Wellington man Hayden Oliver started filming when he spotted the boat burning fiercely in the water on Canterbury’s Lake Lyndon on Friday afternoon.
As he filmed, a speedboat that had been at the other side of the lake approached at speed and turned sharply at the last moment, sluicing water over the fire. It repeated this at least four times.
“It was definitely a brave idea. There’s two sides to it really: it was dangerous but it was brave at the same time,” Oliver said.
He had spoken to the boat’s owner who said the fire started as he revved the motor and it was probably caused by an electrical fault.
“The guy just jumped ship,” he said. Oliver didn’t know who the two people in the speedboat were, he said, “just good sorts in a boat”.
Dave Black, the deputy harbour master for lakes Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea, said he had adopted the same tactic when a boat caught fire on Lake Wakatipu seven or eight years ago.