JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Coast Guard is responding to a report of five mariners in need of help aboard a 70-foot vessel taking on water following a fire. The distress call is approximately 50 miles east of Fernandina Beach.
Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville command center were notified of the incident at approximately 8:47 a.m. Wednesday. A mariner stated there was a fire aboard the vessel Belle-Amie.
The five adults aboard extinguished the fire around 9:40 a.m. but the vessel continues taking on water. All five people are wearing their life jackets as a precaution.
According to mariners, the vessel has lost all power and is currently dead in the water.
The boat is being towed and will be at the St. Johns River buoy for six hours until after 9 p.m. The boat will likely towed by a smaller boat and taken to a marina.
Chief Warrant Officer Doug Schubert, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Mayport, Fla., said the situation could have been much worse for the crew.
"Very fortunate," Schubert said. "This could have been a disaster because the engine room fire they had on board was caused by a fuel leak. So it was leaking diesel fuel in there on top of an electrical fire."
Coast Guardsmen from Station Mayport are responding, along with the crew of the 85-foot Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback.
Two Coast Guard helicopter crews were also launched and arrived on scene at 10:30 a.m.
A Good Samaritan aboard the 56-foot vessel Tippe Canoe is on scene providing assistance to the five mariners and has reported he will remain on scene until the Coast Guard arrives.
For more information contact the Coast Guard Seventh District Public Affairs Detachment Jacksonville at 305-318-1864.