Three rescued off Southampton after boat fire
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The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three people from a life raft in waters off Southampton Sunday after the 36-foot motor boat they were on caught fire, authorities said.
Southampton police received a 911 call about 2:03 p.m. from one of the boaters, saying the group was on their way to Montauk when a fire erupted in the cabin, Southampton Town Police Sgt. James Cavanagh said.
"We got an excited phone call, the guy was screaming that the boat was on fire and he needed help," Cavanagh said. Police dispatched bay constables and contacted the Coast Guard at Station Shinnecock, the lead agency on boat rescues.
A Coast Guard rescue vessel arrived about 8 minutes after the call from the boat, which was one mile east of the Shinnecock Inlet and fully engulfed in flames, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Alfred Diaz.
"By the time we got underway the three people abandoned into water to get in their life raft," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Rogers, of Coast Guard Station Shinnecock. "The owner remained on the phone with me up until the very end and the fire was burning out of control. He told me, 'I have to get off this boat!' "
Rogers said the owner attempted to put out the fire, but had used up his portable fire extinguisher.
"They were lucky they had a deployable life raft onboard and were close enough to shore," Rogers said in a news release.
Diaz, who also spoke by phone with the boaters said: "They only had two life jackets. They wanted to jump in the water. I told them to stay in the boat, try to stay in the boat as long as possible. The water is only about 40 degrees."
The three, whose names were not released, were brought by Coast Guard officials to Oaklands Marina on Dune Road in Hampton Bays.
"They had only been in the water for a few minutes and they were already showing signs of mild hypothermia," Rogers said.
An ambulance took them to Southampton Hospital, Cavanagh said. A hospital spokesman could not be reached for comment.
North Sea Fire Department responded and fought the vessel fire until the boat sank, officials said. The vessel was not deemed a hazard to navigation. Authorities said they had not yet determined the cause of the fire.