‘I didn’t know what was going to explode’: watch as RNLI rescues family from blazing boat

Poole lifeboats launch to vessel on fire

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) came to the rescue of a dad and his two sons after they had to swim to safety when their boat engine caught fire.

The family had been enjoying a fishing trip off the Dorset coast when the motor of their rigid inflatable boat (RIB) stalled and then caught fire.

A quick-thinking father named Joe helped sons, 11-year-old Sonny and eight-year-old Rudy, into the water before swimming back to shore, where volunteer crews from Poole RNLI Lifeboat Station came to their aid.

“The fire took hold pretty quickly, and with fuel tanks on board I didn’t know what was going to explode, so there was no other option than to bail out,” says Joe (whose surname was not provided).

“Luckily, we all had our buoyancy aids on, and it was low tide, so we didn’t have to swim too far before we reached the shore and could call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“Within five minutes the boat was fully ablaze. We were very lucky with where it happened – if we were back where we were fishing it would have been a different story.”

The trio were brought on board the lifeboat from the muddy shore and, apart from being cold and wet, all three were safe and well.

“I can’t praise the RNLI enough for how quickly they got out to us and the treatment we received. The boys were very cold and shaky and we got taken back to the station for hot showers, a change of clothes and cups of tea.”

Volunteer crew member Dave Bursey carried the two young boys to the lifeboat. Bursey says: “We were very pleased when we arrived on scene to see that all three casualties had made it to shore safely, and nobody had been injured in the fire.

Poole lifeboats launch to vessel on fire

“Fortunately, they were all wearing buoyancy aids and weren’t too far from the shore, and the dad did the right thing in carrying a means for calling for help in a waterproof pouch, then dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard as soon as it was safe to do so.’

Poole RNLI’s second lifeboat stood by as the stricken vessel burnt down to the water line and sank, and a Poole Harbour Commissioners vessel ensured there was no pollution to the harbour.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.