Spanish Poker Player’s Yacht Engulfed in Flames, Carrying 17 Passengers

August 14, 2023: Spanish Poker Player’s Yacht Catches Fire and Sinks Off Formentera

Last updated on: August 14, 2023

A tragic incident occurred on Saturday off the coast of the Spanish island of Formentera as a yacht believed to belong to Spanish poker player Diego Gomez Gonzalez caught fire and sank. The opulent vessel, named “Irmao,” sent out a distress call in the late afternoon, reporting a massive blaze onboard.

Flames burn out of control on the yacht Irmao off the coast of the Spanish island of Formentera
Flames burn out of control on the yacht Irmao off the coast of the Spanish island of Formentera. The yacht was reportedly owned by a Spanish poker pro. (Image: FleetMon)

At the time of the incident, the 98-foot yacht “Irmao” carried 12 passengers and five crew members. Thankfully, all 17 individuals managed to escape without major injuries, although one crewmember was treated for minor burns at a local hospital.

Gonzalez, the Spanish poker player, was not present on the yacht during the fire. According to local media outlets, he is listed as the owner by the Formentera city council. However, the vessel is typically used as a charter and can be rented for $58,101 per week.

Afternoon Show

The fire took place in the popular Cavall d’en Borràs area of Formentera, where the Tiburón restaurant and Beso Beach are located. During the incident, both establishments were bustling with customers enjoying the island’s sun and atmosphere.

As is common during summer, numerous other boats were in close proximity to the burning yacht. Many of these vessels participated in the rescue operation, with all passengers and crew members jumping off the ship once the fire started.

The Maritime Safety and Rescue Society (MSRS) of Spain reported that the fire likely originated in the yacht’s cockpit area at the stern. However, the exact cause of the fire remains unknown and may never be determined.

MSRS vessels rushed from the port of Ibiza to the scene and started towing the damaged yacht away from nearby boats around 7 p.m. However, due to the extensive damage and the ongoing fire, the yacht’s hull breached, causing it to sink.

A maritime salvage company was called in on Sunday to remove any potential contaminants and assess any environmental damage. Together with the MSRS, an inspection was carried out, and although some floating residue was found, no significant contamination was discovered.

In the coming days, the area will be continuously monitored for any spills, and any remaining debris from the boat will be cleaned up. The responsibility of refloating and transporting the yacht to port lies with its owner, according to the MSRS.

The Lion In Hibernation

Gonzalez, also known as “The Lion,” is a professional poker player from Madrid, Spain. He acquired his nickname after wearing a full-body lion costume at the final table of the 2012 European Poker Tour (EPT) in Prague, Czech Republic.

The 35-year-old poker player started playing in high school and later transitioned to online poker. He became a regular on the Spanish poker circuit, experiencing ups and downs in his poker journey.

According to The Hendon Mob, Gonzalez’s first cash prize in a live game was in August 2011 when he finished 12th in an event of the Estrellas Poker Tour in Spain, earning $5,400.

However, his most notable achievement is his fifth-place finish in the 2012 EPT Main Event, which earned him a prize of $256,189 and solidified his lion nickname.

Recently, “The Lion” has been less active in cash events or, if he is participating, he hasn’t been securing cash finishes. The Hendon Mob records his last cash in June 2021, when he min-cashed $1,966 for finishing in 66th place in 888poker’s Spanish National Poker Circuit Main Event.

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