Thursday 3 October 2013

Superyacht burns: 16 passengers and crew escape blaze

Flames pour from the Seafaris after it caught fire
Sixteen people were forced to abandon ship when a luxury yacht caught fire and sank off the far north Queensland coast this morning.

Eight passengers and eight crew were on board the Seafaris when the blaze broke out on the 41-metre vessel in Cow Bay in the Daintree region about 6am (AEST).

They abandoned ship and were rescued about 90 minutes later by a bulk carrier which heard the yacht's mayday call.

The group has arrived in Cairns and paramedics have checked two elderly passengers.

The Seafaris is owned by property developers the McCloy Group, whose chairman is Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy.

Mr McCloy is on his way to Cairns to find out what happened.

He says he is devastated the multi-million-dollar vessel, which attracted visitors from around the world, has been destroyed but is thankful those onboard are safe.

"(The boat was) a marvellous thing for Australia and it was doing great charter work, but the charterers on board are safe and that's the main thing I'm concerned about at the moment."

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze.

The Newcastle-built Seafaris undertakes charter trips and tours of the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns.

The seven-year-old vessel boasts accommodation for up to 10 guests and 10 crew, as well as a gymnasium, cinema, library, spa and cocktail bar.

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