Major emergency operation after boat fire in River Dee

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A major emergency operation was launched last night after reports of a vessel on fire off the Dee Sailing Club in Thurstaston.

CREDIT: RNLI

Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team were paged by Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre at 2:33 AM, once the team arrived on scene, it was apparent that the vessel was well alight.

The Coastguard team liaised with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who were also on scene and the decision was made to launch West Kirby Lifeboat at 3.00 AM.

West Kirby RNLI

The West Kirby Lifeboat was launched at the slipway on Sandy Lane and proceeded South towards the stricken vessel. On arrival at the scene the volunteer crew of four in the lifeboat could not get closer than two boat lengths to the vessel due to the intensity of the fire.

On inspection the vessel had lost its entire superstructure to the fire and the hull was beginning to buckle and melt, there was also a large hole in the side of the vessel.

CREDIT: RNLI

It was evident from the fire that there was no chance of any human viability on board the vessel and therefore RNLI West Kirby crew commenced a search of the area heading further South visiting every vessel moored in the area as far as the Heswall moorings looking for any possible survivors who may have taken to the water from the burning vessel.

CREDIT: Wirral Coastguard Team

Coastguard Rescue Officers and West Kirby Lifeboats Hagglund conducted a shoreline search North and South of Dee Sailing Club. The area was illumined using numerous white parachute flares to aid the search. Hoylake Lifeboat also assisted in the search and managed to extinguish the vessel fire.

At around 3:45 AM, Hoylake Lifeboat was tasked by Wirral Coastguard team which swifty arrived on scene just after 4:10 AM.

CREDIT: RNLI

Hoylake lifeboat used their salvage pump and fire hose to extinguish the fire but unfortunately the vessel was badly fire damaged and at 4:40 the vessel sank on its moorings. The only trace being an area of pollution from the vessel’s engine and bilges; and a gas canister that was possibly damaged in the fire and deemed too dangerous to recover due to the risk of explosion.

West Kirby RNLI

All RNLI personnel were stood down at 4.53 AM.

The cause of the fire is unknown.