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Five People, Including An Infant, Rescued From Boat Fire Off Venice Beach
Five people were rescued from a burning powerboat off the coast of Venice Beach Saturday afternoon; among those rescued was a 4-month-old baby. The infant's mother was forced to jump off the boat and into the water clutching the baby in order to escape the flames, which had rapidly engulfed the boat in a matter of minutes.
"The mother jumped in the water with her baby. She went under the water, luckily came up and was holding her infant," fire Capt. Kenichi Haskett told KTLA. "The lifeguard was right there—pretty much arm's distance—and grabbed the baby."
"You have to jump," the infant's mother, Theresa Gandler, told ABC-7. "It was like flames behind you. You don't think, you just jump, and then the lifeguards were there in five seconds."
That lifeguard was Jon Van Duinwyk, who described the rescue to ABC 7: "I dive in the water, the woman falls over the side with the infant. I swam to her as fast as I can and as they came back up to the surface, I identified myself to the woman, and kicked the baby over to the boat, keeping the baby above the water." Wouldn't think the phrase "kicked the baby over to the boat" would be considered a good thing, but, there it is.
Los Angeles County Fire officials said the fire broke out on the 40-foot powerboat, about 200 yards off shore from the 1200 block of Ocean Front Walk around 3:09 p.m. The response from lifeguards was swift; according to the L.A. County Lifeguard's Twitter, by 3:32 p.m. the fire had been extinguished, and all five of the people on board were rescued from the water.
All of those rescued were checked by paramedics for smoke inhalation, and as a precautionary measure, the baby was taken to hospital, but no injuries were reported. Also no word on what caused the fire.
Beach goers took to social media to post photos of the fire, and the massive plumes of smoke produced when firefighters extinguished the flames:
Here's a video from the rescue itself: