May 15, 2013

2 escape burning lobster boat off Wells

By David Hench
Staff Writer

Two crew members of the 36-foot lobster boat Miss Ellie escaped safely after the boat caught fire off the coast of Wells just before 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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Lobster boat Miss Ellie burns off the coast of Wells on Wednesday. Photo provided by U.S. Coast Guard.

The crew was able to call shore on a cellphone, which led the Coast Guard to issue an urgent marine broadcast asking any nearby boaters to assist.

The flames quickly engulfed the boat, which was four miles north of Boon Island Light, and the crew donned survival suits and climbed into a life raft, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

The Coast Guard dispatched a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Portsmouth. Meanwhile, a research vessel, the Tioga, responded and was able to get the crew aboard without any injuries, the spokesman said.

The fire gutted the boat, though it was still afloat at 11:15 a.m.

The owner was headed out in another lobster boat to start salvage operations, the spokesman said.

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