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Man unharmed after boat fire in Gulf; Cause of fire said to be mechanical

By Staff | Apr 1, 2008

A man walked away without injury Monday afternoon after having to abandon his boat in the Gulf of Mexico after it caught fire.

According to the Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard, a man was forced to abandon his craft shortly after 2 p.m. after discovering a small fire near the boat’s engine. The fire quickly spread and engulfed the boat in flames, forcing the man to jump overboard where a nearby boater picked him up.

“He had just had some maintenance done on his boat, not sure where or when, and he was taking it out for a trial to see how it was working after the maintenance,” said Coast Guard Seaman Tindol. “He had stopped about a mile and a half from Big Carlos Pass to see how everything was going with the engine. He opened up the engine cover and discovered there was a small fire in there. The fire eventually grew and engulfed the boat. He did have enough time to call us and then abandon the boat.”

The man, whose name had not been released as of Monday afternoon, was unharmed.

“He had no injuries, he was OK,” Tindol said. “He put his life vest on and got overboard long enough for a good samaritan, who was in the area, to come and retrieve him.”

Bonita Fire and Rescue put out the flames which then reflashed a few minutes later, only to be extinguished a second time.

“The boat is with the Bonita Fire and Rescue,” said Tindol. “Their Marine 22 put the fire out. It was out maybe five to 10 minutes before it reflashed. The Sea Tow took it back to his marina and it’s there now.”

The cause of the fire is said to be a mechanical malfunction, according to Tindol.