The first time out on their newly purchased small cabin cruiser had a disastrous end for a Victorian couple. They had to swim for their lives when the boat, with an inboard petrol motor, burst into flames immediately after they set off from the boat ramp near the Scout Hall.
Lunchtime crowds were stunned when the drama unfolded before them. Luckily, the prevailing wind took the boat out towards the entrance to the harbour rather than pushing it against the newly built jetty or the sea wall where it would have smashed to pieces.
Brett Bradbury of Kiama Bluewater Charters got involved when the fire brigade asked him if they could use his boat to take their firefighting equipment and pump out to the still blazing fibreglass boat.
“It was burnt down to the waterline in the end,” he says. “Just a mess.”
After first bringing it back into the harbour, pollution concerns meant that the boat was eventually towed right out to sea and cut loose. “It sank immediately. The police talked about keeping it for investigation, but it just wasn’t feasible.” Inboard petrol motors are known to be dangerous on boats, and a number of things could have triggered the fire.
Not much more is known about the couple, although it is believed they went to hospital suffering from shock.