Three jump for their lives after fire engulfs yacht in Piscataqua River

Staff reports 7:50 a.m.

Three jump for their lives after fire engulfs yacht in Piscataqua River

The vessel 'Elusive' goes up in smoke near Little Harbor in New Castle. (NHSPMP photo)

NEWASTLE - Three boaters had to jump overboard to save their lives on Saturday after their 70-foot yacht was engulfed in flames on the Piscataqua River.

The fire erupted near Little Harbor around 4 p.m. when a passenger on the vessel noticed thick black smoke coming below decks.

Within minutes the boat completely filled with smoke forcing three passengers as well as two family dogs to jump overboard as the boat became engulfed in flames.

The yacht Elusive, ' a 2007 Marlow, was heading toward Wentworth Marina when the blaze occurred.

The three passengers were identified as Arthur Watson, 67, of New Canaan, Conn., Diane Watson, 57, of New Canaan, and Jarrod Tubbs, 33 of Jupiter, Fla.

They were all rescued by nearby boats and taken to shore, where they were transported to Portsmouth Hospital, treated and released.

The vessel drifted out of the harbor with the outgoing tide across the state line into Maine. Efforts by several agencies to save the boat were unsuccessful. Within two hours of the initial call she sank in waters off Kittery.

Agencies assisting the New Hampshire State Police - Marine Patrol included the US Coast Guard, Portsmouth Fire Department, Kittery Harbor Master, Newington Fire Department, Salisbury, Mass., fire department and Rye Fire Department. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Anyone who was a witness or has information related to this incident is encouraged to contact New Hampshire State Police - Marine Patrol Sergeant Stephen O'Connor at Stephen.J.O' or (603) 227-2117.