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Marina Bay boat fire: Search on for missing man

SINGAPORE — Elite rescue divers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) scoured the waters off the Esplanade – Theatres By The Bay late into Tuesday night (July 12) in search of a boatman who went missing after his vessel caught fire hours earlier.

Marina Bay boat fire: Search on for missing man

The boat on fire in Marina Bay on Tuesday evening (July 12). Photo submitted by TODAY reader Luke.

SINGAPORE — Elite rescue divers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) are continuing to scour the waters off the Esplanade – Theatres By The Bay late into Tuesday night (July 12) in search of a boatman who went missing after his vessel caught fire hours earlier.

Five relatives of the missing man, including his mother, have arrived at the Esplanade and led to a cordoned-off area. The missing man's mother, who was in tears, said that divers from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) had yet to locate her son.

According to the SCDF, the method of search at this moment includes point diving at a depth of about four metres, and employing a circular search pattern from the point where the person was last seen, with the search team moving in a grid formation. Apart from the poor underwater visibility at night, another challenge the rescuers have to surmount is submerging and searching through deep silt present on the river bed.

It is unclear how the boat, which is part of a fleet run by the Singapore River Cruise for its river taxi service, caught fire. Images and videos of the burning boat, with its thick black smoke billowing into the sky, first made their way online on Tuesday evening. 

Eyewitness accounts on social media said that the smoke could be seen from as far as the Central Business District. The burning boat was near the mouth of the Singapore River and Marina Bay.

Singapore River Cruise said it had stopped all operations in the evening. The operator also told Channel NewsAsia that no one had been on board the river taxi at the time.

However one eyewitness, an 18-year-old student who wanted to be known only as Luke, told TODAY that he had seen a man jump from the boat into the river. Mr Luke said he did not see whether the man had made it to the pier.

The SCDF said it was alerted to the incident at 6.26pm and extinguished the fire later using two water jets from the river bank. There were no other reported missing persons or injuries.

Police started setting up a barricade as the boat was being towed back to the pier after the fire had been completely put out. The top half of the boat was completely razed. The Esplanade Bridge was also closed off to pedestrians. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LAURA PHILOMIN AND KELLY NG

 

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