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 through, 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 in the engine room had been followed by a fire. Another boat on the river responded to the Coast Guard’s marine radio appeal for any close-by vessel to help, Petty Officer Chris McDonald said.

The second vessel reached the burning boat about 5:25 p.m., took the people from it and waited until the Coast Guard could get there, McDonald said. He said no one was injured.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The fire began when the Wild Blue Yonder was north of the bridge, and continued as the boat drifted south, under the bridge, Coast Guard Commander Richard Sundland said.

Efforts to extinguish the fire failed, and the boat sank about a quarter mile off the Maritime Center in Charleston. The Coast Guard dispatched two boats to the scene, and several police and fire departments also sent boats, Sundland said.

Reader Ted Childress shot this video of the fire and shared it with us via Facebook.