Good to know your out there for us David
Taken from local news
11:00 - 17 August 2005
A group of pleasure seekers had a lucky escape yesterday after the engine of their boat caught fire in Tor Bay.
The drama happened on the 24ft boat Cheers more than a mile off Goodrington beach at lunch time, with three men and a woman on board. Firefighters, coastguard and ambulances rushed to Torquay's busy harbourside to help with the emergency.
The fire was eventually contained out at sea and no one was injured.
Hero of the hour was David Hickman, of the Torbay and Dartmouth Powerboat School, whose 20ft RIB Flyby took the four anxious passengers off Cheers, and made them comfortable.
Simon James, of Torbay lifeboat crew, said: "He did a good job after responding to their emergency. He was first on the scene. The four people rescued were clearly shocked by their ordeal but no-one was injured. We understand that the water pump failed, and a bearing became overheated, starting a fire in the engine room. Naturally, there was a lot of smoke but Flyby got the four people off pretty smartly and we went aboard to check the fire was out."
Speedboat instructor Mr Hickman revealed he had given some strong safety advice to the Cheers crew. Mr Hickman claimed the crew of the Sealine motor cruiser had used a mobile phone to dial 999 instead of using their VHF radio.
They also had emergency smoke flares on board but didn't set them off. He said: "We had trouble locating them in the first place after the Coastguard broadcast a general alert on Channel 16 saying they were off Paignton beach, because the crew were just waving a flag to attract attention nearly 1.5 miles from the shore.
"We would have got to them much quicker if they had used their orange flares. Although the fire appeared to be out when we arrived, I advised them to switch off the electrical supply and the fuel immediately before taking them all on board Flyby as a precaution and moving away.
"The lifeboat crew made a thorough check and removed a gas cylinder used for cooking.
"I gave the crew some basic safety advice.
"Fortunately on this occasion there were no injuries."
Lifeboat coxswain Mark Criddle, who supervised the offshore rescue operation, said the RNLI's next job was to cool off the vessel and tow it back to harbour where fire service experts went aboard to check out the damage
The crew did not want to talk about the incident.