Passengers rescued from burning fishing boat along San Diego coast

Posted at 9:15 AM, Sep 03, 2017

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Michael "Captain Woody" Wood was preparing to set out on a fishing excursion off the Point Loma coast, a typical Saturday afternoon run for a fresh catch.

But before Wood and his two passengers, a father and his son, cast a line off his boat named "Passport," he noticed a wisp of white smoke on the horizon, about 10 miles from the coastline.

"It could have been steam, it could have been really anything minor," he said. "It didn't look like anything major."

Wood guided his vessel towards the smoke to investigate.  He arrived to find rolls of thick black smoke billowing from the hull of a 40-foot boat.

Several passengers aboard the burning boat, jumped ship and swam to Captain Woody's boat. Two crew members tried to fight back the flames but the fire and smoke grew more intense.

"I told them to get off the vessel," Wood said. "They got into the water, got into my boat, and at that time the boat just became completely consumed with flames."

A San Diego Lifeguard boat arrived soon after and attempted to extinguish the fire, but the sport-fishing vessel, named Reel Viking, sunk and was unrecoverable.

"It burned in about 12 minutes," Wood said.

Six passengers were rescued from the burning boat, and there were no reported injuries.

"They were in good spirits," Wood said. "As a matter of fact, the two adults that were with them drank a couple of our beers. So they probably owe me six bucks a piece, but I'll go ahead and let that slide."

10News reporter Matt Boone contributed to this report.