Four rescued after power boat explodes, burns in Cooper River

Four people were rescued before flames completely engulfed this boat beneath the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Photo by Edward C. Fennell)

Four people were rescued Thursday after fire swept and sank a 37-foot power boat near the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

The four aboard the “Wild Blue Yonder” notified the Coast Guard at 5:20 p.m. that an explosion aboard the boat had been followed by a fire. Another vessel on the river responded to the Coast Guard's marine radio appeal for any close-by vessel to help, Coast Guard Petty Office Chris McDonald said.

The second vessel reached the burning boat, took the people from it and waited until the Coast Guard could get there, McDonald said. He said no medical assistance was needed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said.

A North Charleston Fire Department boat reached the burning vessel about 6 p.m. and tried to fight ther fire, but the boat sank, authorities said.

The pedestrian walkway on the bridge was closed to foot traffic during the fire, according to a police spokesman. By 6:30 p.m. the walkway was re-opened.