Boat catches fire at popular East Oahu bay - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Boat catches fire at popular East Oahu bay

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HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A boat burning in the middle of Maunalua Bay on Sunday caught people's attention miles away as thick black smoke billowed through the air in East Oahu.

The man managed to escape from his burning boat before it sank to the bottom of the ocean.

The vessel caught fire around 11:15 a.m. and the boat's owner jumped overboard to stay alive.

Fire crews dispatched six units, a total of 15 personnel to the scene.  They say when they got to the exact location; the boater had already abandoned ship.

Good Samaritans like JC Fiero jumped on jet skis to try to rescue the man.

"All of a sudden we looked out at the ocean and there was this big ball of fire. So me and my friend jumped up on the jet skis to go help him," Fiero said.

Fire officials say the owner and lone occupant of the 26-foot vessel told them the flames broke out in the engine compartment. They said he tried to extinguish the fire himself, but couldn't. So he jumped overboard and swam to a nearby boater who brought him to shore safely.

In the meantime, the rescue team had a unique fire on their hands and had to utilize special training and a specific technique used for ocean fires.

"The fire boat came out and they were flushing it with the back engine to put it out," said Fiero.

"We utilized the props from the boat to throw water on the boat which was out at sea. We tried to use extinguishers but the fire was too large at the time we made it to the boat…we utilized our boats the best we could," said Acting Battalion Chief Brett Mau.

Fire officials say the boat burned for 30 minutes before it sank.

Fire officials say the U.S. Coast Guard and the Hazard Environmental Emergency Response Office will follow up with the boat's owner and determine how they will salvage the vessel.

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