Owner of Sentosa Cove yacht that caught fire: "My baby was lying next to the burning engine"

An owner of a yacht that caught fire while berthed at the One Degree 15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove on Thursday afternoon (March 22) has spoken up about the terrifying ordeal. 

Mr Tu Zhen Yi, 36, told Lianhe Wanbao that it was his birthday, and he had brought his family on the yacht for a celebration. 

When the yacht suddenly caught fire, the two domestic helpers had fled for their lives, leaving Mr Tu’s eight-month-old son behind. 

Fortunately, his wife found the baby.

Carrying the baby, she then escaped the vessel with Mr Tu and their daughter.

A total of 15 victims were conveyed to hospitals for treatment, including Mr Tu, his family, and the two domestic helpers. 

Mr Tu said that the fire had started at around 4.30pm. 

At the time of the incident, his wife and daughter were seated at the wheel.

One of the maids was seated near the entrance to a room, carrying the sleeping baby, while the other maid helped to fan the two.

According to Mr Tu, the yacht was refuelling at the fuel dock, but somehow, the tanks could not be filled. 

The dock technicians, worried that there could be a leak, asked to inspect the yacht’s engine. 

Mr Tu then followed the instructions of the technicians and took safety precautions.

However, when he started the engine, there was a sudden explosion. 

Asked about the incident, Mrs Tu said:

“It all happened too fast. I turned around and both the maids were nowhere to be found. My husband grabbed our daughter and asked me to run. 

“We ran out and saw that there was a black ‘mass’ lying on the deck.”

After checking the mass, she realised that it was her baby son, who had been blackened by the soot and smoke. 

She recalled that her baby was lying face down at the time, right beside the burning engine. 

Mrs Tu and her husband believe that the two maids had dropped the baby on the deck while fleeing for their lives.

She added:

“I immediately grabbed my son. Along with my husband who was carrying our daughter, we fled the burning yacht.”

Shortly after, the fire was put out by officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), with help from the in-house emergency response team.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said the SCDF. 

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