An Edgewater man sleeping on his sailboat in the South River awoke early yesterday to find the boat ablaze. He abandoned ship and swam across the river to safety, Natural Resources Police said.
John D. Biggie, 45, suffered minor burns to his arms and legs while trying to fight the fire with an extinguisher, a police spokesman said. He was treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Natural Resources Police said Biggie was having trouble with the electrical equipment on his 31-foot boat while sailing on the river about 8 p.m. Monday.
He dropped anchor near Turkey Point on the south side of the mouth of the river and decided to wait until morning to seek help, police said.
But about 2 a.m., Biggie awoke to the sound of cracking fiberglass and saw flames, police said. He tried to fight the fire, then jumped overboard and swam across the river to Cherrytree Cove and phoned for help from a house on Ramsgate Drive, near Gates Head Drive.
The Annapolis and Anne Arundel County fire departments, U.S. Coast Guard and Natural Resources Police arrived at the boat about 3: 30 a.m.
The boat, built in 1978, was destroyed, police said. It had been struck by lightning a few weeks ago, and Biggie said he believed that that might have caused electrical problems, police said.
Natural Resources Police said that the blaze was caused by an electrical malfunction but that an investigation is continuing.
Pub Date: 9/10/97