Five uninjured people were rescued from a dinghy in the Gulf of Mexico Monday night after a yacht caught fire and sank in deep water, marking the second yacht to sink off the Florida Keys in as many days.
A Coast Guard Sector Key West response boat, a Coast Guard cutter already at sea and two Coast Guard C-144 airplanes from Miami responded to a 6:46 p.m. report of a vessel fire 30 to 50 miles nautical miles northwest of Key West, said Coast Guard spokesman Ensign Max Franco.
None of the five people on board were identified, but all were in good health when the Sector Key West response boat recovered them, Franco said. All were taken back to Key West.
The fire was reported by a woman who received a satellite phone call from her husband, who told her the 39-foot Bertram named Afterhours was on fire and sinking, Franco said.
It was not the boat, a 50-foot Hatteras, of the same name, currently docked at Key West Bight.
The wife called Coast Guard Station Marathon and watchstanders there relayed the call to Sector Key West, Franco said.
The cutter arrived on scene and found the boat had sunk in deep water, making any salvage attempt impossible, Franco said.
The exact coordinates were not available Tuesday, so Franco couldn't say how deep the water is where the boat sank.
"I can say it was deemed unrecoverable," he said.
Meanwhile, at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday a 70-foot yacht named Impact collided with the rock jetties in the Northwest Channel that connects Key West Harbor with the Gulf of Mexico, Franco said.
All four people were uninjured and boarded a Sector Key West response boat. That launch boat began to tow the boat back to Key West. Commercial salvors began pumping water out of the yacht and then towed it back to Robbie's Marina on Stock Island.
It was unknown where the yacht was coming from and where it was headed as of Tuesday or what caused the impact, Franco said.
In a third incident, two uninjured people were rescued by Coast Guard Station Islamorada crews early Sunday from a life raft about six miles south of Islamorada.
What caused that 50-foot Hatteras to sink about 1:50 a.m. also remains under investigation. That boat will be commercially salvaged, Franco said.
There were no reports of bad weather in the area during the three incidents.