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Man jumps into water after lobster boat catches fire off Ipswich

A lobster boat off the coast of Crane Beach in Ipswich caught fire Friday morning.Courtesy of the US Coast Guard

A man operating a lobster vessel off Crane Beach in Ipswich was uninjured after he jumped into the water when his boat caught fire Friday morning, the Coast Guard said.

The unidentified man's boat, the 1977 28-foot wood-hulled Dawn Breaker, caught fire at 9:30 a.m. for reasons still under investigation, Coast Guard spokesman Robb Ruddell said. The man tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher but jumped into the water after it worsened, he said.

Officials said the man handled the emergency adeptly. Once he realized he could not control the fire, he radioed a mayday to the Coast Guard, put on his survival suit, grabbed a waterproof bag with supplies, and held on to a portable radio.


But, he did not stop there, officials said. The man also activated his emergency beacon and grabbed some buoys before he jumped into the water, officials said.

"The really, really good thing about this is that he had an immersion suit, a hand-held VHF radio, and a personal locator beacon," said Ruddell. "He was able to give his exact location."

Ipswich Fire Department Lieutenant Lee Prentiss said the man was in the water for only 15 or 20 minutes before two people on a nearby boat picked him up.

He was in "very good condition," Prentiss said.

Prentiss said there were 26 gallons of fuel on the boat, and the Fire Department and other responders kept their distance as the fire raged on board. He said the boat overheated as the man was pulling lobster traps.

The Dawn Breaker sank before noon, Prentiss said.

Alexandra Koktsidis
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