‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’ Star Bobby Earl Breaks Down Scary Moment when Reel E’ Bugging Caught Fire

by Matthew Wilson

It’s not all calm out there on the open seas. “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” star Bobby Earl almost lost his life in a terrifying boat accident. His trusty Reel E’ Bugging ship caught fire one afternoon. And Earl almost lost his good friend in the process.

Backtracking a bit in an interview with Screenrant, Earl says he decided to bring his boat to the Outer Banks last summer to work there permanently. That’s also how he became one of the faces of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” in the process. Earl said he decided to hang up his business and set sail for the seas, leaving it in his trustworthy son’s capable hands.

Well, Bobby Earl and his friend Danny King were getting ready for the upcoming season of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” when disaster struck. Bobby Earl still remembered a certain tranquility about the morning of the fire. He watched the sunrise, not knowing that disaster was imminent.

“We loaded up everything I owned in November, and we headed south,” Bobby Earl told the outlet. “We had a month or two to get ready for Wicked Tuna. I was about 50 miles off of New Jersey beach, and my good friend was sleeping downstairs, and the sun just came up, and it was beautiful. I was actually thinking to myself, “The boat is running great. Life is good! Look at the sunrise!”

‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’ Star Fights For His Life

That serenity was broken by an explosion downstairs. The “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” star quickly rushed to see what caused the noise. That’s when he discovered that his engine room was ablaze.

“And then I heard an explosion. And I went downstairs and the entire engine room and salon was on fire. It went fast. I ran down to the bunk room and my friend, Danny King, was sleeping. At least I thought he was sleeping, but he wouldn’t respond,” Bobby Earl continued.

Reacting quickly, Bobby Earl said he punched his friend Danny in the face to wake him up. He screamed, “We’re on fire!” but Danny didn’t stir and for a moment, he thought his friend was dead.

“My brain was trying to process, I couldn’t leave him there, so how am I gonna drag his body off this boat? But for the grace of God, he started to cough up all sorts of stuff, and he started to come to. So I got him in the survival suit, I put mine on, we called the Coast Guard, and we jumped overboard. It was almost that fast. We had about twelve minutes,” Bobby Earl said.

The boat then sank 200 feet under the sea to a watery grave. Bobby Earl believes the turbos caused a fire on the boat. He’s since got a new ship instead.