Today is Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reddick saves 10 lives in boat explosion

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One of Wilson County's native sons is being called a hero for saving the lives of 10 people onboard a luxury yacht in the British Virgin Islands.

Carson Reddick, a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School, is a maritime captain who was most recently working as a crew member on the 100-foot SuperYacht Limitless, formerly named da' Bubba.

A few days ago, the boat was making a passage between Scrub Island and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. The boat broached in high seas, or in common terms - tipped to one side for a few seconds, explained Carson's dad, Jim Reddick, of Lebanon.

"The broach caused quite a mess as you can imagine. They were cleaning up the galley when Carson said, 'I wonder what the engine room looks like," Reddick said. While checking the engine compartment, he discovered and reported a blazing fire from the floor to the ceiling.

Instinctively, he got on the radio and said, "Fire! Fire! Fire! Engine room! Engine room! Fire! Fire! Fire!"

Carson started assembling the crew and passengers - including those who were still sleeping. The Captain put Carson in charge of abandoning ship while he secured the vessel.

"Carson was responsible for that. He got everyone in their life jackets," he said.

However, the fire was approaching so rapidly that there was not enough time to get everyone on the smaller boat that was being pulled behind them.

"Carson knew they were out of time and ordered everyone to jump into the water," Reddick said. Carson barely had time to get into the smaller boat himself. Just four-and-a-half minutes after the ordeal started, the boat exploded.

Once they were in the water, the crew and passengers were picked up by Carson in the smaller boat.

The British Coast Guard called this a textbook evacuation in a hypercritical situation. It is one of the largest boat fires in the history of the British Virgin Islands.

Reddick added, "There was literally no time to waste. The crew and everyone is saying Carson's quick mind, split-second decision making and bravery getting everyone off the boat was a major factor in all 10 lives being saved."

Mom Lisa said she was proud too.

"It was so terrifying the moment we heard it was his boat that was on fire in the middle of the sea," she said. "The fear of the unknown was completely paralyzing. At first we were able to speak with one of his fellow crewmates. She said, 'Mr. and Mrs. Reddick, I want to tell you that your son is a hero. He was courageous and brave."

When they were finally able to speak with him directly he said he felt like this day was a part of his destiny.

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