A 102-foot luxury yacht possibly worth $24 million has been completely destroyed after it caught fire while dry docked at a San Diego boat yard, and it was all caught on film by an aerial drone.
According to local fire officials, the fire was reported at the at Marine Group Boat Works on the Chula Vista Bayfront at about 9:10 a.m. Thursday.
The yacht is reported to be the 102-foot “Polar Bear”. The owner of the vessel, who is from Minnesota, told local media that he cried when he first saw online video of his yacht completely engulfed in flames because, believe it or not, someone was actually able to get a GoPro up to shoot the fire.
The video went viral over the weekend, racking up some 1.2 million views on YouTube. The amateur videographer explained he was just in the right place at the right time, filming some aerial shots of other boats in the area when he saw the smoke and sent his quadcopter in for a closer look.
As for the fire, over 40 fire personnel responded, including help from the Coast Guard and San Diego Harbor Patrol, but intense smoke and flames coming from the vessel kept firefighting crews at bay for hours. Reports indicate that two people have been treated for smoke inhalation.
“Am I angry? No. Anger is not the right word,” said owner Larry Jodsass in a phone interview with local NBC 7. “It was my toy, my wonderful, beautiful piece of equipment. I think it’s the most beautiful boat that ever has been built.”
Jodsass added that the yacht took him five years to build and has been in the water for three. He said that the yacht is valued at $24 million.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but reports say that a welder was working aboard the vessel at the time of the fire.
The incident follows the capsizing of a $10 million adventure yacht during launch at a Washington shipyard. Video of the vessel’s failed launch later went viral.
Located at the southern part of the San Diego Bay, Marine Group Boat Works specializes in refits, repairs and new construction of boats and super yachts up to 220 feet long. The yard is known for its 665-ton travelift, the largest on the U.S. west coast.