Boaters Rescued After Luxury Yacht Burns in Texas

Aug. 30--Three people were rescued without injury from a burning yacht under the Kemah Bridge.

The fire was reported about 1:45 p.m. on Friday by a good Samaritan in a passing vessel, said Petty Officer Andy Kendrick of the U.S. Coast Guard.

By 4 p.m., the boat had been moved to a slip and surrounded by boom to prevent fuel from escaping, kendrick said.

Occupants of the 52-foot Neptuna boat included someone who was interested in buying it and was on a "sea trial," said Frank Samperi, owner of nearby Outriggers Grill and Seafood Restaurant.

The boat had gone all the way to the Houston Ship Channel and back to the bridge when the sailors noticed something burning in the lower hatch, where the diesel engine sits, Samperi said.

"It smoked and burned for at least two hours," said Samperi, whose restaurant is next to the bridge and whose staff had a ringside seat on the action. "It was tied up right under the Kemah Bridge. I was here for the whole thing."

The fire was "maybe 15 yards from us," the restaurant owner said.

There was a lot of smoke, he said, because of the boat's burning fiber glass.

In addition to the Coast Guard, responders included the Seabrook Fire Department and Kemah Fire Department, both of which sent fire boats, Kendrick said.

Copyright 2014 - Houston Chronicle

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