It was a normal Tuesday afternoon at the office for Albert Bonnici, an engineer at the Kalkara marina, when he suddenly heard a loud bang that sounded like a bomb had gone off.
“It sounded like a fireworks factory explosion,” he said.
Only, it was no fireworks explosion but a yacht that burst into flames while berthed in Kalkara.
The blaze practically destroyed the yacht. Two other boats, berthed about a metre from the yacht, could have sustained damages running close to €100,000, staff at the marina said.
Still shaking from the experience, Cecere Donato, whose boat was berthed opposite the yacht, said he was doing some odd jobs on deck when glass shards fell on him.
Quickly taking stock of the urgency of the situation, the marina employees rushed to the stricken boat and cut the ropes to push it out of its berth, thus ensuring those onboard the two adjacent boats would be safe.
They used a dinghy to tow the burning boat to the mouth of the creek, where the Civil Protection Department took over and used two fire-boats to quell the flames. However, the blaze was so strong that the fire only died down when the boat started sinking.
It is not yet known what caused the fire.
Asked what precautions should people take when leaving a boat berthed at a marina, Mr Bonnici recommended that all mains should be switched off and gas tanks secured. He also recommended that boats are surveyed by professionals.
The Civil Protection Department cautioned people to always keep a functioning fire extinguisher within easy reach.
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