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Australia

Lucky escape as yacht goes down in flames

The boat, believed to be travelling between the Gold Coast and Tin Can Bay, sunk after the blaze engulfed the vessel around 4 kilometres off shore at Marcus Beach, just south of Noosa.

A man was on-board at the time but managed to jump on to a dingy carried on-board while he waited for the coast guard to reach him.

Residents reported seeing helicopter waterbombers in the area, pumping water onto the fire, but attempts to save the vessel failed with the yacht flipping over just before 3.30pm, and eventually sinking.

Westpac rescue helicopter pilot Dave O’Brien said the fire could be seen from a distance, and said while rescues are reasonably common in the area, this was the first yacht fire he’d seen.

“We got a call from state operations and while we were getting ready to get airborne we got reports of flares in the area,” he said.

“You could see the fire from probably about 5 kilometres away at least … when we arrived the fire was well involved.”

Water police senior constable Niall Appleyard said the man escaped the yacht and is “safe and well”, the Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

“We don’t know the name of the yacht or its registration at this point and we are unsure how the fire occurred,” Snr Constable Appleyard said.

He said Maritime Safety Queensland had been informed of the incident.

“The vessel has flipped, which may potentially be an issue later in terms of spilt fuel.”