THE MANAGER of Abingdon Marina has told how he and others rallied together to help get a family off a burning boat.

Gary Boughton-Smith was working on Sunday afternoon when he heard a scream so high-pitched he thought it was a whistle.

He ran outside and saw a pleasure boat with six children and two adults on board with smoke pouring from the roof.

Mr Boughton-Smith, who lives in Abingdon and has worked at the marina for 12 years, said: “The boat was coming across very slowly and the children were screaming. It was a case of ‘let’s get them off there and onto terra firma in case it explodes’.”

Firefighters brought the flames under control by about 7pm, although the boat was badly damaged.

Station manager Paul Webster said an engine malfunction appeared to have caused the fire.

No one was injured, but the group was checked over by paramedics at the scene.