Nfld. & Labrador

2 rescued from boat ablaze near Ferryland

Two people have been rescued from a 65-foot boat that was on fire about five kilometres off Ferryland.
After an onboard explosion, the Gulf Harvester went up too fast to even send out a mayday call, reports CBC's Krissy Holmes. 1:58

Two people have been rescued from a boat that caught fire about five kilometres off Ferryland on the Southern Shore.

Jeri Grychowski of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said the pair were rescued from a life-raft near their 65-foot vessel Gulf Harvester, which was in flames.

The vessel Amanda and Brothers picked up the 49-year-old man and his 17-year-old son near Goose Island and brought them safely to shore.

Ferryland resident Craig Byrne was on the boat that rescued them. He says he and a few others saw the flames and sprung into action.

"We saw the boat on fire and just went out," said Byrne.

The man being rescued told Byrne they heard a banging noise, immediately followed by an explosion.

"He never got a chance to get a mayday out," said Byrne. "It was that bad. It happened that fast."

Byrne said the back of the man’s head was burned pretty badly, but that he was otherwise fine.

"There was a lot of smoke, a lot of fire," said Byrne. "But they looked like they were in pretty good condition, aside from a little shock."

A Cormorant helicopter had also been dispatched from Gander.

As of early Wednesday evening, the vessel was still burning and was drifting south of Ferryland's harbour.

Transport Canada records indicate the boat is registered to Steven Maloney of Witless Bay.

The RCMP is investigating the cause of the fire.

Two people were rescued from a boat that burned just off Goose Island, near Ferryland. (Sheila Morry)