Blaze destroys cabin cruiser 13 aboard unhurt


Thirteen people were rescued from a 50-foot cabin cruiser that caught fire yesterday near the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

None of the boaters was injured, but the vessel, Break Away, was destroyed, said Sgt. Bob Chandler of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Most of the people on the boat were rescued by other boaters after the blaze was discovered in the engine compartment about noon, Sergeant Chandler said.

The Break Away was in College Creek near the Route 450 bridge, a popular boating spot, at the time of the fire.

The fire was discovered when several passengers on board reported to the boat operator and owner, Richard E. Gilbreath, of Annapolis, that they smelled smoke.

When Mr. Gilbreath checked the engine compartment, he discovered a fire and radioed a mayday alert.

Fire boats and rescue vessels from the Coast Guard, Natural Resources Police and the Annapolis Fire Department were dispatched to the scene, Sergeant Chandler said.

The Break Away was towed to the Naval Academy sea wall, where naval firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The sport fishing boat was headed to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore, said Mr. Gilbreath's son, Brendan Gilbreath, 15, who arrived on the scene with a smaller boat to help carry passengers.

He said three children under 4 years old were among those rescued from the boat.

Fire officials were investigating the cause of the blaze late yesterday.

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