VIDEO: Fire engulfs vessel in Solent

Dramatic footage has been released by Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) of a boat fire in the Solent which took place just outside Portsmouth Harbour (19June22).

Gosport Lifeboat was tasked, via the coastguard, to attend a 38ft motor vessel after the skipper had seen flames.

On scene within six minutes, GAFIRS say its team found two people on board, in lifejackets, standing on the outer edges of the vessel as flames started to take hold. Two nearby yachts had also responded to the call and were standing by, but could not get close enough due the sea state and plumes of smoke.

Gosport Lifeboat recovered both people to the safety of the lifeboat and then took the vessel under tow, away from the busy shipping channel and into shallower water. Shortly after the tow commenced, flames from the engine room completely engulfed the cabin so Gosport Lifeboat crew deployed an anchor, with assistance from Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat, to prevent the vessel from drifting and becoming a greater hazard.

Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat took the casualties into the warmth of their cabin and returned them to the Chichester Harbour side of Hayling Island, from where the vessel had set out.

Meanwhile Gosport Lifeboat remained on-scene to keep inquisitive passing vessels at a safe distance as flares and gas cylinders exploded.

“Thankfully we were on duty with the lifeboat today and out training as it was only a matter of minutes from our arrival until the vessel was completely engulfed in flames,” says duty coxswain Pete Byford.

“The crew on board the vessel had done everything they should: immediately calling for help, wearing their PPE equipment and being ready for the lifeboat to arrive.”

The duty fire tug, SD Independent, was tasked to come from Portsmouth Harbour to fight the fire but as flames completely engulfed the vessel, it was unable to be saved and sank shortly afterwards.

Gosport Lifeboat then assisted the tug in retrieving the fuel tanks, which had been carrying 1800 litres of diesel and other debris from the sunken vessel to minimise any environmental damage.

All images courtesy of GAFIRS.

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