Sailboat destroyed by fire, skipper rescued near Spieden Island

The skipper of a 25-foot sailboat was plucked out of shallow waters near Spieden Island and airlifted to safety after his boat caught fire and ran aground shortly after midnight on Monday, July 23.

The 25-year-old man, who reportedly escaped the mishap without serious injury, was flown to Bellingham by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and placed in the care of local emergency medical services.

The fire burned the boat down to its waterline, with 20 gallons of gasoline onboard, according to the Coast Guard.

The skipper and his hometown were unidentified by the USCG in a press release about the incident.

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter crew, based in Port Angeles, and 33-foot enforcement vessel, in Bellingham, after receiving a report of a red flare and possible boat fire about one-half mile southwest of Spieden, at about 1:30 a.m., Tuesday.

When rescue crews arrived on scene, the man was standing near the burning boat, in shallow water along the westside of Sentinel Rock, due west of Sentinel Island. The depth of the water proved too shallow and the shoreline too rugged for the man to be reached by boat.

He was hoisted onboard the helicopter after a crewman was lowered to the rocks to assist in the rescue.

The man reportedly was the only one onboard at the time the boat caught fire and ran aground, according to the Coast Guard.

— Scott Rasmussen



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