Four people stranded on a burning, sinking yacht off of the Galveston, Texas, coast, including a small child, were rescued by concerned samaritans on Saturday. The accident happened around 6:30 p.m., just off of the tip of the south jetty.
New York Daily News reports that Michael Marquez, one of the onlookers that noticed smoke and flames rising from the yacht, stated that all he could think of was to tell the trapped victims to throw the child overboard, a young boy, who appeared to be around 6-years-old. Marquez was on the island fishing when he noticed the flames, and immediately tried to help.
“There was four people, there was a mom and son and her husband and I believe her father. The son looked to be about six years old. So, first my instinct was to get him off the boat and onto mine. So the whole boat was in flames. I went straight up, real close to it, and I was yelling ‘Throw the kid! Throw the kid!’ “
Once the child and his mother were off the yacht, the other two people on the yacht jumped into the water. A boat passing by helped them escape the flames. If not for the boat passing through the right place and at the right time, the outcome may have been tragically different. According to Joseph Lovell of the U.S. Coast Guard, the yacht was already in flames and sinking before rescue arrived.
“By the time we arrived on scene, there was a significant portion of the vessel under the water line.”
The mother, child, and two other family members aboard the burning yacht were all rescued and taken in for medical care. Fortunately, there were no injuries. Aside from a lost yacht, the victims came out of the accident unscathed, said Adam McDaniel, also with the U.S. Coast Guard.
“They were a little sad and disappointed about the boat but definitely happy that they were rescued and nobody was hurt.”
So far, there is no indication as to what started the fire, but the yacht owner indicated that it looked like the fire began in the engine. All four people were wearing life vests when they were rescued. The burning yacht completely sunk within an hour after the fire started.
[Photo Courtesy of USCG Heartland]