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Phuket Yacht Haven staff praised for averting marina fireball



PHUKET: A power boat berthed at Yacht Haven Marina in Phuket went up in flames last night, but heroic action by staff at the facility minimized the damage to surrounding vessels as they were able to tow it safely out to deeper water.

No injuries were reported.

Phuket Kusoldharm Foundation emergency rescue workers, called to the scene at 7:45pm, watched helplessly as flames engulfed the 70-foot vessel well offshore.

Although staff at the marina were unavailable for comment this morning, Australian yachtsman Mark Ainscough who witnessed the events recounted:

“It was opening night for the new owners of the Haven Restaurant, that overlooks Yacht Haven Marina. Myself and Cathy (SV Catcha Star on B Jetty) were having dinner with friends from two other boats, all from Australia.

“We had not been seated long when another boat owner in the restaurant asked if we had boats in the marina. He went on to explain there was a boat on fire on D Jetty. Moments later told us that his crew of eight had it all under control.

“But 10 minutes later we saw a huge tower of flames and black smoke. It appeared to be getting out of control and looked like it would spread to neighboring boats at any moment. We were all getting ready to throw the lines and get out, as fire can travel fast along floating timber jetties.

“We then noticed that the ball of flames was moving. A team of very brave people in dinghies managed to get some tow lines attached to the burning boat and were courageously towing the boat out of the marina while others were spraying the engulfed vessel from fire fighting pumps.

“They successfully towed the boat out to clear water were it was no longer a danger to the marina. It is a credit to the marina managers Nick and Zara and their team that no one was hurt.

“Only the one power boat was destroyed, with possibly one or two others that were singed or received smoke damage,” he said.

The name of the vessel or its owner have yet to be released.

UPDATE: The Phuket Gazette contacted the Phuket Marine Police several times today, but staff there said they had yet to be notified about the incident.

— Wichai Witthawat & S Fein


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