A 43ft motoryacht caught fire in San Francisco Bay yesterday, sparking a coastguard rescue operation

The San Francisco Coastguard was called into action yesterday after a 43ft motoryacht caught fire between Tiburon and Angel Island.

The fire, which broke out at 14:30 local time, attracted the attention of two Vietnamese fishermen in a Zodiac RIB who were the first to respond.

Within an hour, the San Francisco Coastguard was also on the scene, helping the skipper and crew to safety without any injuries being reported.

Seven people were on board the Hatteras-style motoryacht, one of whom was Heidi Thomas-Kuhn, CEO of mine removal charity Roots of Peace.

Writing on her Facebook page later, Ms Thomas-Kuhn praised the efforts of her rescuers:

“Two Vienamese hero fisherman arrived to rescue our lives today, as we were about to abandon ship into the frigid winter waters of the San Francisco Bay.”

Mike Ayers, battalion chief at the San Francisco Coastguard, told the Marin Independent Journal that the motoryacht fire originated in the engine bay and lasted two hours.

He added that the total damage to the boat could exceed $200,000 (£132,000), if indeed the vessel was salvageable at all.