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Boat burns on Beaufort River

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Couple escapes flames with no injuries

By Mike McCombs

Two boaters are safe, but their boat was a total loss after it burned on the water Sunday during a trip up the Beaufort River.

A little before noon, a couple from Bluffton were headed upriver toward Beaufort when an engine warning light came on as their 31-foot Sea Ray inboard/outboard off Parris Island, according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Dave Lucas.

The man opened the engine hatch and immediately saw smoke and flames. Lucas said the man deployed a fire extinguisher, but the fire was already too intense to put it out.

The couple jumped overboard and was picked up by a passing boater who took them to the Sands Boat Landing in Port Royal. Both occupants of the boat avoided injury.

An SCDNR officer interviewed the couple at the boat landing.

After the pair abandoned boat, the craft drifted into the marsh off Cane Island and grounded itself. According to Lucas, the boat burned up completely, leaving little else but the engine block.

Lucas said the boating accident investigation is essentially closed and noted that the fire is presumed to have been caused by a mechanical issue based on the interview with the operator.

Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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