Nine British charter guests have been rescued off the coast of Phuket, Thailand after their 15-metre (50-foot) yacht was struck by lightning and caught fire. The yacht, a Beneteau 50-ft sloop called Emmjay, caught fire at about 5pm.
The guests, from Scotland, ran into heavy storms and sought shelter below deck – but after a rogue bolt hit the vessel, setting it alight, they were forced to seek help. A mayday call was sent at 5:00pm (local time), with the coastguard sent to the yacht’s location. Passing fishing boats also assisted the group; no injuries have been reported.
Marine chief Wiwat Chitchertwong said in a statement that all nine guests were safe and accounted for.
”Police were notified at 5:00pm that there was heavy rain and lightning that struck the boat. This caused a fire,” he said. ”People were already sheltering downstairs in the boat to shelter from the rain when the lightning struck.”
The yacht, named Emmjay and built by Beneteau, was caught on video enveloped by the blaze.
Those rescued include the Reverend Bryan Kerr of Greyfriars Parish Church in South Lanarkshire. After the ordeal, he said, “We are giving thanks that everyone is safe and for those who came to our rescue.”