Boat fire causes fishermen to jump overboard near Picnic Island

PICNIC ISLAND, Fla. – Flames engulfed a boat off of Picnic Island on Saturday evening.

“I told everybody to jump, they said, ‘why?’ I said, ‘I got 75 gallons of fuel,’ so we got out,” Carlos Roldan said.

Roldan and his buddies are a little soggy, but thankful they were able to escape a boat fire when their fishing trip took a turn for the worse.

“I started the first engine, everything was fine, started the second engine, I hear a big boom.”

Roldan said he tried to put the fire out himself but the flames kept getting bigger and bigger. That’s when he told his friends, who were at the front of the boat fishing, to jump.

“No questions. If they don’t jump, I was going to kick people out,” Roldan said.

The three swam back about 100 feet to Picnic Island, that’s when a father and his son and a friend saw the chaos.

“We had seen three gentlemen on the island and my son said ‘let’s go get them if we can,'” Mike Gavala said. “[We] pulled up and got the guys in the boat and brought them to the FWC boat.”

They say they just felt like it was the right thing to do.

“Being a holiday weekend too, you know, we just wanted to make sure that everybody was okay,” Gavala said.

Roldan said he’s glad they were all wearing their life jackets or it might have been a different kind of story.

Luckily, no one was hurt. However, the boat is a complete loss.

 

 

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