Florida Keys

Two people and two dogs were on a burning boat. A Key West ferry came to the rescue.

Key West ferry rescues 2 people and 2 dogs from a burning boat

The Key West Express ferry rescued people and dogs from a burning boat on June 6, 2019. The ferry responded to the mayday call before the Coast Guard.
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The Key West Express ferry rescued people and dogs from a burning boat on June 6, 2019. The ferry responded to the mayday call before the Coast Guard.

A Key West ferry boat captain and crew rescued people and dogs from a burning boat Thursday after responding to a mayday call in the Gulf of Mexico before the U.S. Coast Guard, a passenger on the ferry said.

The Key West Express rescued two people and two dogs from the Ohana about 24 miles southwest of Marco Island, according to WBBH NBC 2.

No injuries were reported, said passenger Davis Williams, who captured the rescue on video and posted about the rescue on Twitter.

“Everyone was just hoping and praying,” Williams said. “We left the raft, left the boat burning and were back on our way. The dogs became superstars on the boat. They got some bites of hot dog.”

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Passengers said they were en route from Key West to Fort Myers and about two hours into the trip, at about 7:30 p.m., when the ferry captain announced they were responding to people in distress. The ferry made a hard left toward a plume of black smoke.

“There was a big fire, you could see the flames shooting up in the air,” said Debbie Flessner, a passenger from Sarasota. “I thought, I hope whoever was on board got out.”

Flessner said she admired the boat captain’s calm approach to getting the couple to safety and was glad the ferry had come across the people who needed help. She watched the rescue unfold.

“You could see there was a dinghy in the water,” she said. “A man and a woman and two small dogs in their lap.”

The couple is from Myakka City, Florida, which is in Manatee County, Williams posted on Twitter.

“They were in the life raft for two hours,” Williams said. “We were well offshore, probably a good 20 miles offshore.”

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