Six people were rescued by the United States Coast Guard after the 33.5 metre motor yacht Miracle caught fire and became engulfed in flames in the Atlantic Ocean.
The incident happened on Monday night (March 14) as the Jamaican-flagged Miracle was said to be travelling from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Antigua.
Reports have confirmed that fire broke out on board and rapidly spread throughout Miracle when she was approximately 70 nautical miles north of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The catastrophic nature of the blaze forced the crew of six to abandon ship and take refuge in a 10 metre tender she was towing.
The US Coast Guard monitoring the San Juan sector received a Mayday call and immediately dispatched the fast-response cutter Joseph Napier, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to aid the distressed yacht. In addition, the coast guard also sent an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft to the scene.
The crew of three US citizens, two Australians and a South African — said to be five men and a woman — were all reported as being in good health. Following their rescue, they were escorted to Añasco, Puerto Rico, where they were met by Customs and Border Protection officers.
Daniel Capestany, senior chief petty officer for the US Coast Guard, said the coordinated response had delivered the boaters from the stricken Miracle to safety, and added: “This case highlights the importance of communicating distress calls via a VHF marine radio on channel 16.”
The cause of the fire is, so far, unknown and being investigated.
This is the second incident in the Caribbean this week as Positive Energy was destroyed by fire in US Virgin Islands. Earlier this year The One and Barbie were damaged by huge fire in Turkey and in separate incident Princess 95 Queen Anna caught fire in Fethiye.