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Watch: Samaritans Rescue 6 Men from Boat Moments Before Flames Engulf Entire Vessel

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When Jesus gave his parable of the Good Samaritan, he spoke about a stranded stranger stuck on the side of the road. Were he to move the story to today’s south Florida, though, he might have mentioned a burning boat afloat beside the coast.

On June 25, a sunny summer morning in Fort Lauderdale almost ended in tragedy. A 45-foot charter vessel burst into flames as it cruised in the Atlantic Ocean.

Thanks to the sharp eyes of the Barriger family, a vacationing group from Connecticut, the smoke rising from the vessel got noticed by the crew of the Lady Pamela II, itself a deep-sea-fishing charter.

Captain Gene Checci quickly swung into action.

“I saw smoke coming out, and I saw guys scurrying around. I looked down at my mate, and I said, ‘I think that boat’s on fire,’” Checci told WSVN.

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His charges weren’t the only ones to notice. Jillian Picarillo and her family had gone fishing on their own boat, and they pulled up to see if they could help.

She told PEOPLE, “It was very scary. We could feel the fire on our faces.”

Indeed, there was no time to waste. The fire, which had started in the vessel’s engine, had begun to spread.

“When I picked up the outriggers to go get them, the boat was completely engulfed in fire, all the way up to the flybridge, and all the people were out on the bow, so I just went around it, came up alongside the boat,” Checci said. “It went from smoke to fire within three to four minutes.”

The Lady Pamela II pulled up beside the distressed vessel, and the Barriger’s helped the six stranded passengers get to safety on their boat. The rescue effort was touch and go at one point with a passenger almost plunging into the drink.



“Well, the way with everything, the wakes and the rocking of the boats, they hit each other and he slipped,” Kate Barriger explained said. “He caught himself, thank God.”

Indeed. According to Sean Matthews of Lady Pamela II, “They were happy, grateful, lots of thank yous from them, including the captain and the crew. We just had to help out and do our jobs.

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“Not a bad day. We also caught fish.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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