Photo by Rudy Deck A yacht caught fire off the west side of Whidbey Island Thursday evening. The sole occupant was able to escape in a dingy.

Yacht burns, sinks off Whidbey

A man made it to safety after a yacht caught fire off the west side of Whidbey Island Thursday night, according to the Coast Guard.

The burning vessel created a spectacular trail of black smoke seen from across the island.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Klingenberg said the Coast Guard received a call about a 42-foot Grand Banks yacht on fire with one person aboard at about 6 p.m.

The man left in a dingy. He was picked up by Good Samaritans and brought to the John Wayne Marina in Sequim.

The Coast Guard launched a helicopter out of Port Angeles; it could be seen hovering near the yacht.

Klingenberg said there was a concern about pollution because the boat holds up to 100 gallons of diesel. The Coast Guard’s small boat team stayed with the yacht until it sank off Whidbey’s Point Partridge.

“There was no concern for hazardous navigation and no pollution,” he said.