WELLINGTON – All 60 people aboard a tourist boat that caught fire off the coast of New Zealand have been rescued, according to authorities.
Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said the fire aboard the vessel “PeeJay” broke out Monday afternoon after it was returning from White Island to the town of Whakatane.
She said all 53 passengers and seven crew members were forced to leap overboard to escape the fire, with two taken to area hospitals after suffering minor injuries.
Perks said the boat was about 1 kilometer from shore when it sent a mayday alert, allowing the Coast Guard and smaller vessels to reach it quickly.
White Island is volcanically active and popular with tourists. It is 50 km off the North Island coast.