BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KFSM) — Eight people were able to escape from a 24-foot boat that caught fire Friday (June 1) evening in Avoca Hollow Point on Beaver Lake, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary (CGA) crew saw smoke from their location at the Prairie Creek Launch Ramp. They were first to arrive on scene of a vessel that was fully engulfed in fire near the shore.
At first, the Coast Guard crew looked for survivors in the water, but didn’t see any. The Auxiliary vessel headed to the shore and found a group of people at a nearby launch ramp. Among the group was the burning vessel’s owner/operator and passengers.
Under direction from Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River in Memphis, the Auxiliary crew collected basic information about the incident from the operator.
The operator said that five adults and three children escaped without injury after the fire began in the engine compartment during its launch from the ramp, according to the Coast Guard.
A vessel from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office directed onlookers away from the fire while the Avoca Fire Department put out the blaze with its fire boat, which was docked a few hundred yards away from the scene.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary said engine fires commonly begin with explosions that eject passengers into the water or onto docks, potentially causing traumatic injuries.
If you own a boat the CGA offers free vessel safety checks, boating safety education, to name of few of their services. You can schedule an appointment for powerboats and paddle craft checks at firstname.lastname@example.org .