HOW IT UNFOLDED: Spirit of 1770 burns to waterline

IN what was an extensive rescue mission for the region's emergency services, the Spirit of 1770 was engulfed in flames 10 nautical miles off the coast of Lady Musgrave Island.

While on its return trip,  at 4pm the vessel caught fire and by 4.30pm a search and rescue operation had started.

There was 42 passengers on board who were evacuated into liferafts.

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It wasn't until 9pm last night the first of the passengers arrived at the boat ramp in Seventeen Seventy wrapped in blankets, grateful to be back on land.

A It is believed the fire began in the engine room of the vessel and quickly became out of control.

Eleven people were taken to hospital, three to the Gladstone Hospital with back and chest pain and the remaining eight were taken to the Bundaberg Hospital.



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