The U.S. Coast Guard said it rescued three people from the water after their boat caught fire near Shinnecock, N.Y., Sunday.
A good samaritan contacted the communications center at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound reporting a vessel on fire near the Shinnecock Inlet. A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Shinnecock and the South Hampton Bay Constables responded.
The fire engulfed the 36-foot cabin cruiser and the three people abandoned the vessel into the water to swim to their deployed life raft. Within minutes of the notification, Station Shinnecock’s boatcrew arrived on scene and rescued the three people.
“By the time we got underway the three people abandoned into water to get in their life raft,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Rogers, of Coast Guard Station Shinnecock. “The owner remained on the phone with me up until the very end and the fire was burning out of control. He told me ‘I have to get off this boat!’”
Rogers said the owner attempted to put out the fire, but he expended his portable fire extinguisher.
“They were lucky they had a deployable life raft onboard and were close enough to shore,” said Rogers.
Station Shinnecock’s boatcrew transported the three people to awaiting Hampton Bay First Responders at the Oakland Marina for medical attention.
“They had only been in the water for a few minutes and they were already showing signs of mild hypothermia,” said Rogers.
North Sea Fire Department engaged in fighting the fire aboard the vessel until it sank. The vessel was not deemed a hazard to navigation.
Of the three people who entered the water, only two had lifejackets. It’s unclear if they were wearing them at the time of the incident or grabbed them prior to entering the water.
It’s extremely important to always be prepared for unexpected emergencies, and especially by wearing a lifejacket, which could save your life when every second counts.