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Dinghy may have got woman to Browns Island

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/11/2016

Police have released this photo of the dinghy © NZ Police Police have released this photo of the dinghy A mystery dinghy could hold the clues to how a woman made it out to an uninhabited island in the Hauraki Gulf, where one of her fire beacons got out of control and tore through 13 hectares of scrub.

The woman, 38, spent three nights on Browns Island last week before being rescued.

Police didn't know how she got to the island but on Monday issued an appeal to find the owners of a white dinghy with orange trim, which was reported floating between the island and Musick Point a week ago.

It had no oars or motor and the police launch Deodar towed it back to Auckland.

"This was found on the same day the woman says she was left stranded on Browns Island, so we're to keen hear of any sightings," said Detective Sergeant John De Heer.

"Obviously one possible line of enquiry being considered is the woman reached the island by dinghy and it is, in some way, connected to the inquiry.

"We also have no indication of who owns the dinghy so we're keen to return it to its owners."

After the woman was rescued police said they had concerns for her mental wellbeing.

She had now recovered from her experience but it was too early to say if she would be charged over the fire.

The woman told police she was left stranded on the island on the Monday but found food and shelter in a hut.

She lit small fires to attract attention to her plight, but strong winds blew one out of control and it burned through more than 13ha.

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