Tourists were forced to jump into shark-infested waters when their boat in the Galapagos caught fire, ABC7 Eyewitness News reports.
In a terrifying video captured by an ABC7 Eyewitness News television producer, passengers can be seen scrambling to buckle their life vests and evacuating the small ship as it fills with smoke in the dark of night.
“I didn’t know if I was supposed to stay on a burning boat or jump in the water with sharks,” passenger Dana Kirk told ABC7 Eyewitness News.
All 16 tourists on board, including several Americans, opted to jump off the boat, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News.
“Why don’t we all, like, go get together?” one visibly panicked passenger suggests after jumping overboard. Emergency life rafts didn’t immediately deploy, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News, but the Galapagos tour guide can be heard urging her group to stay calm.
“Keep together, grab each other’s arms,” the woman says, offering instruction. “We kick to the left.”
The emergency life rafts finally inflated after an hour in the cold water, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News. After another two and a half hours, the 16 passengers were rescued by a sailboat who received their SOS message.
Video footage shows tourists boarding the rescue boat, while others sit close together wrapped in blankets.
All passengers and crew are safe, and the Galapagos tour company is investigating what caused the fire, ABC7 Eyewitness News reports.