Sixteen people rescued after abandoning a burning superyacht, which later exploded and sank off the coast of Queensland
A 41m luxury superyacht has exploded and sunk off the coast of Australia.
Eight passengers and eight crew were aboard the yacht Seafaris, when it caught fire before sinking off the Daintree coast around 6am local time on Thursday.
All of those aboard the ship survived and arrived at Cairns marina at noon.
One of the passengers, who was asleep when the alarm was raised, said: “One of the crew knocked on the door and said, ‘fire, fire, fire… We just got organised and got in the raft in the water.”
Another survivor said: “We’re all safe. That’s all that matters.”
Everyone aboard made it to the lifeboat and shortly after there was an explosion and the Seafaris sank.
A Cairns coastguard radio operator says everything happened so fast that lifeguards weren’t able to reach the yacht in time.
“It all happened that bloody quick,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
“We heard about it on the wireless and about 30 seconds later it had sunk.”
The passengers and crew were picked up by a passing container ship that responded to a distress call.
Paramedics treated two people who had been on board the yacht for minor injuries, but no others were injured in the event.
Harbour pilot Glen Alitt, who brought the survivors into Cairns, said they had not been very talkative. “I think they’re all in a bit of shock.”
The Seafaris, which costs about $120,000 a week to hire, was used for luxury charters along the Queensland coast.
The McCloy Group, who own the vessel, released a statement saying the fire started in the yacht’s engine room.
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Photograph: Australian Maritime Safety Authority