Little Compton Fire Chief Richard Petrin said the four people abandoned ship shortly after the wooden boat caught fire at 10:10 a.m. and were picked up by another boat that was nearby. He said they were not brought in to Sakonnet Harbor but apparently continued on with the other vessel. It is believed that nobody was hurt.
A Coast Guardsman from Station Castle Hill in Newport said he understands that the four were taken in by friends from Portsmouth
The Little Compton chief had no information about the cause of the fire or the size or home port of the lost sailboat.
Chief Petrin said that Little Compton’s fire boat responded as did a boat from Jamestown. Boats were also dispatched from other towns, including Tiverton and Portsmouth, but they were called back when it was determined that they would not be needed.
A Coast Guard District 1 spokesman in Boston said that a Coast Guard helicopter that had been training in the area was diverted to the fire scene while another was dispatched from Cape Cod. Both went back to base when when it was determined that the passengers were safe. By the time a Coast Guard boat arrived, the boat was beyond saving.