Just east of Port Everglades, residents and drivers saw a plume of dark smoke. James Rigby, the boat’s captain, said it all happened really fast.
“We slowed the engine down. We cut it off and he had gone back down to try to extinguish the smoke and that got too big, then next thing we know the whole boat is catching on fire,” Rigby said.
The 30-foot boat capsized while it was on fire. Rigby and the other man abandoned the ship.
Christian Johansson, who witnessed the fire, said flames were shooting up in the air.
“As soon as the superstructure caved in, it just kind of burned right through the freeboard all the way down to the waterline,” Johansson said.
The Coast Guard saved their lives. The crew gave them blankets and took them to the 15th street Marina in Fort Lauderdale. Paramedics treated only one of the boaters.