Wednesday afternoon, a tourist boat caught on fire before reaching the dock of the Great Barrier Reef.

46 passengers were rescued from the incident, according to the local reports. In addition, 19 of them were taken to hospitals. There, injured passengers spent the night while theirs wounds were treated.

The Spirit of 1770 is the name of the boat where a significant explosion took place. It is thought the fire started at the engine room. Then it expanded so quickly that passengers aboard jumped right to the ocean because they feared for their lives. 

Australia Coast witnesses a boat on fire
ABC news reported that the boat is sinking after a fire started in its engine room. Passengers were able to get away on rafts, the public broadcaster indicated. Image Credit: Boat International

Passengers claim it was a no-brainer to jump to the ocean before getting burned by the rapid flames that led the boat to a complete crust. The 23-meter long vessel’s name was adopted after the year the explorer James Cook sank in the coast of Australia. The Spirit of 1770 carried on board a crew mainly composed by Chinese tourists, who abandoned the boat 30 minutes after the fire started.

Tourists better end up wet than burned 

The passengers who jumped into the water were taken to the nearest hospitals in order to heal the injuries they had suffer. Some of them presented mild hypothermia, others seasickness and a few seemed to have fractures. None of them presented life threatening injuries, as they could jump on time in order to prevent themselves from getting second or third-degree burns.

According to the Queensland police report, the incident started at 4pm and those who were on board when help arrived were evacuated on life rafts. Even though many were able to help those passengers on the ocean, the rescue and backup system provided safe passage for people. Considering the fact the incident occurred late in the evening, it was normal for some of the passengers to present hypothermia symptoms. Nevertheless, the majority of them were able to sail away in the life rafts and haven’t presented any further injury. 

The Spirit of 1770 lies now at the bottom of the ocean. Nevertheless, further research will provided evidence on what caused the fire. 

Source: Daily Mail