A 20-foot ski boat burst into flame and sank in Dana Passage early Saturday afternoon, according to the Port of Olympia Harbor Patrol, one of several groups that responded to the emergency.
A group of fishermen, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and a Squaxin Island Tribe police boat also responded to a call for assistance from the Coast Guard, said Theresa Madden, a Harbor Patrol volunteer.
Madden was working her regular shift Saturday morning when an emergency call, known as a “pan pan,” was issued by the Coast Guard about a boat that was on fire, she said.
The boat was on fire in Dana Passage, a body of water in Puget Sound between Johnson Point and the Nisqually Reach.
The Harbor Patrol was dispatched a little after 11:30 a.m. Saturday and arrived on scene about noon, said Bruce Marshall, the Port of Olympia’s harbor director.
They found a boat engulfed in flames, Madden said. Five adults had jumped overboard and were picked up by a group of fishermen who took them to Zittel’s Marina at Johnson Point, she said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, although the boat owner had reportedly just refueled at Zittel’s, Marshall said.
The Sheriff’s Office boat extinguished the blaze and then the ski boat sank about 1 p.m., Marshall said.
Madden said the harbor patrol boat remained on scene to keep curious boaters away from the burning boat, and to make sure it left no oil or gas sheen on the water. The boat was equipped with an inboard/outboard-type engine, she said.
A spokesperson for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached Monday.