A million dollar luxury pleasure cruiser has been towed out to sea and sunk to avoid a potential environmental disaster in Wallis Lake.
Just after 11pm on Tuesday, February 6 Fire & Rescue NSW 295 Forster was called to a boat fire in Rockpool Road, Tuncurry.
When the crew arrived a large, permanently berthed vessel and its mooring were alight, while several loud explosions were heard coming from the hull.
After setting up fire attack hose lines and sourcing water from nearby fire hydrants, fire fighters managed to knock down the flames, but the fire continue to burn inside the hull.
Carrying about 4500 litres of diesel and fearing the boat would sink if filled with too much water, the situation was considered too dangerous for personnel to board the 75 foot vessel
Emergency personnel - police, RFS, Roads and Maritime, NSW Fisheries and Hazmat – made the decision to tow the vessel out to sea to minimise the environmental damage to the Forster-Tuncurry harbour.
According to Manning Great Lakes Police District Chief Inspector, Tony Power, the still burning cruiser was towed approximately five nautical miles out to sea by two local fishing trawlers, where it sunk in 30 metres of water.
The owners, a couple from Mitchells Flat and their grandson, were on-board the vessel when the fire began, allegedly lit by an unknown intruder.
The owner heard footsteps and ran out to confront the unknown person, Inspector Power said.
While the unknown person ran off, the owner noticed the fire and the family quickly evacuated the boat, he said.
The family was not injured.
Fire & Rescue NSW 295 Forster has extended a ‘big’ thanks to the fishing trawlers, the captains and crew who stepped up at a critical time and volunteered to tow the vessel away.
Other fire crews which attended were Tuncurry NSW Rural Fire Service, FRNSW 453 Taree Fire Station, Diamond Beach Rural Fire Brigade and Hazmat from Fire & Rescue NSW, Port Macquarie. Thank you all for your help.