A new Coast Guard crewmember being given a tour of the Roanoke Channel near Wanchese,N.C., got a firsthand look last Saturday at a dire situation on the water, according to a recent Coast Guard press release.
The Coast Guard station Oregon Inlet was on a 21-foot rescue boat when smoke appeared was spotted. They arrived on the scene in less than a minute to find the deck of the 43-foot sportfishing boat, Reel Nauti, was ablaze with flames moving quickly across the length of the vessel, according to the release. Two people on board were pulled to safety before the entire vessel went up in flames.
“All of us on board felt fortunate that we were in the vicinity of the vessel because of how quickly the fire spread across the deck,” says Petty Officer Adam M. Fredrickson, coxswain of the 21-foot rescue boat.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. A Coast Guard 47-foot rescue boat arrived a short while later to keep other vessels at a safe distance and Coast Guard Sector North Carolina issued a Marine Safety Information Broadcast on channels 16 and 22 warning other boaters about the 2 to 3 feet of the fishing boat that remain above the water in the channel. Salvage attempts are to be made during the next few days, according to the release.
— Elizabeth Ellis