Lifeguards rescue 5 after boat catches fire off Juno Beach

JUNO BEACH, Fla. - After the engine on their boat caught fire, five people were saved by Palm Beach County lifeguards this afternoon.

Around 2:30 p.m., the engine of a 22-foot Cuddy Cabin caught fire while in the ocean between Juno Beach Pier and Loggerhead Park, Juno Beach Pier lifeguard Bryan Theiss said.

The people were able to put the fire out, but the boat then lost power, causing the passengers to become frantic.

About 300 yards off the shore, the people called a distress signal for Tow Boat US to come help them.

Jupiter Inlet lifeguard Rick Welch heard the call of distress over the radio and called Theiss for help.

"They got pushed into the surf and it was getting real dangerous," Theiss said. "I decided to go in and one guard went out on a paddle board."

Theiss said he swam out and grabbed a line from the tow boat to connect to the boat in distress.

"We were just able to get them out in time," he said. "They were real frantic on board, they all had life vests on and they were huddled."

Theiss said the boat was in two to four-foot surf and the waves were crashing over the boat.

"I was screaming at them 'just hold on, hold on'," he added.

Theiss didn't know where the boaters were from but said the tow boat was bringing them back to Lake Worth Inlet.

No one was injured in the rescue, Theiss said.