14 people are safe after an excursion vessel caught fire in Silver Bay over the weekend.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Sunday (5-7-23), the captain of the 56-foot Yukon Queen contacted the Coast Guard to report a fire in the engine room. The boat had been traveling from the Gary Paxton Industrial Park toward the head of Silver Bay, near Bear Cove.
“We had a helicopter on scene hovering over just monitoring the situation,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Ian Gray. “There were a couple of good Samaritan boats out there as well that were assisting with getting the people off board the vessel that was on fire,” he added.
According to a release from the Sitka Fire Department, those good Samaritan vessels were work skiffs from the nearby Medvejie Hatchery. They helped the 10 passengers evacuate the vessel, ferrying them back to the hatchery dock.
The crew members remained on board and fought the fire with extinguishers, closing off the engine room to isolate the fire. They managed to snuff out the blaze before emergency crews arrived. Once firefighters arrived and ensured the fuel and power on the boat was secured, they stayed on board to monitor for any sign of rekindling.
The Yukon Queen was towed to the nearby industrial park dock, where emergency responders continued to investigate the scene. One crew member was treated and released for possible smoke inhalation– no other injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The Yukon Queen is owned by local tour company Adventure Sitka. The fire damage is estimated at around $500,000.