INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — A fun day on the Mighty Mississippi turned dangerous for a boating party this holiday weekend.
“Everybody was taken aback,” Brian King, from Inver Grove Heights, said.
A 40-feet, two story yacht went up in flames at the River Heights Marina Sunday afternoon after Inver Grove Heights Fire officials say the owners had just filled it with gas.
King was at the Mississippi Pub in front of the marina, and live streamed the fire on Facebook.
“It was bad,” King said. “You could hear the crackling just what the video shows it was massive.”
The Inver Grove Heights fire chief said when someone went to start the boat, there was a “boom” and a small fire started. The five people on board got off on the dock before the boat was engulfed in flames.
“The family apparently wanted to hold a tow rope to keep it near the dock and [marina workers] told them no they said get it away because of the gas tanks,” King said.
The boat drifted and got caught under a pedestrian swing bridge, which also caught fire underneath. Eventually it kept going downstream.
Firefighters put out the fire on the bridge, and the fire in the boat before it eventually sank. No one was hurt.
“Being able to get them off there safely, the water is high and also there was no one in the cabin which could have been really devastating,” Mississippi pub manager Jessica Rodgers said.
The bizarre part of all of this is the owners of the boat were in the middle of selling it right before this happened. It was supposed to be a “sea test” for the buyers, according to officials with the sheriff’s office.
Now the owners will have to get a salvage company to get the sunken boat out.