Daring Rescue: Crewmember Pulled from Burning Trawler

By The Maritime Executive 09-08-2017 08:50:48

The factory trawler Urabain caught fire Thursday afternoon at Puerto Madryn, Argentina, and first responders had to cut open her hull to extract a trapped crewmember. 

Local firefighters responded to a request for assistance at 1430 hours Thursday. A team of stevedores and the majority of her crew managed to get off the boat quickly, but one crewmember was trapped inside. A rescuer used a cutting torch to open the compartment, and the response team lowered two firefighters in a manbasket to lift the crewmember to safety. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment. 

"There was a sailor under the bridge that [had] to be evacuated," said Jorge Frias, secretary general of the Argentine Association of Captains, Pilots and Fishermen, speaking to local outlet FARO. "They cut part of the bulkhead to evacuate [him]." Video from the scene shows smoke pouring from the Urabain’s wheelhouse, and a crewmember trapped belowdecks and reaching through a porthole. 

Channel 12 News, Puerto Madryn (circle added by broadcast media)

The fire department said that it was possible that the ship would continue to burn for days, as she was fully loaded with packing material and fuel for what would have been her next voyage. 

"If there was not so much cardboard and plastic inside [it] would not have happened, everything is very flammable," said the ship's technical adviser, Antonio Cuoso, speaking to local media. "It was all in seconds, there was no time to anything; it was all in seconds."