6 people rescued from boat burning off Fort Lauderdale

Posted at 6:19 AM, Jun 26, 2018

(WSVN/CNN) - A charter fishing trip in South Florida turned into rescue operation Monday morning when tourists notice a smoking boat.

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Together with the captain and crew of their charter boat, they pulled six people off smoking boat moments before it burst into flames.

It was a great morning for the Barriger family, who were visiting South Florida from Connecticut. They were out charter fishing on the vessel Lady Pamela II.

"We were just out fishing for a charter, and we heard, ‘fire,'" said tourist Kate Barriger.

About a mile offshore, another charter boat, New Latitude, caught fire.

"I saw smoke coming out of the vents, and I saw the guys scurrying around. I looked down at my mate, and I said, ‘I think that boat's on fire.’ By the time I picked up the outriggers to go get them, the boat was completely gone and fire all the way up to the flybridge and all the people were out on the bow. So, I just went around and came up alongside the boat. It went from smoke to fire within three to four minutes. I'm telling you it was ridiculous," said boat captain Gene Checci.

All six people onboard were rescued.

"They're happy, grateful. Lots of thank yous from them including the captain and crew of the New Latitude. Lady Pamela, we just had to help out and do our job. Not a bad day. We also caught fish," said first mate Sean Matthew.

The fire started in the engine area of the boat.

Crews are working with a salvage company to figure out what to do with the damaged boat.

Courtesy WSVN via CNN Newsource