Black smoke poured from a 35-foot sailboat Wednesday night as it burned and eventually sank while anchored off Russell Island, at the mouth of Salt Spring Island’s Fulford Harbour.
Three of the four family members from the boat were on shore when the fire was reported about 6:30 p.m., with the other one having to scramble to safety.
“Everybody got away with their lives,” said Nick Boychuk, who runs Eagle Eye Marine — Vessel Assist Gulf Islands and was the first to respond to the fire.
“We tried to put some water on the boat, but it was already fully engulfed,” he said. “We threw an anchor on it and pulled it off the beach.”
There were concerns the fire could have spread to trees on Russell Island, Boychuk said.
He said the family’s two children were in “decent spirits” after the incident.
B.C. Ferries’ Queen of Cumberland also responded to the fire but did not have to use a rescue craft. The ferry was 55 minutes behind schedule as a result.