A BUSINESSMAN who cheated death when his luxury yacht exploded in flames 15 minutes into its maiden voyage has won a £300,000 High Court compensation payout in the UK from three Irish companies.
Paul Ward (62) and his passenger, John Innes, had to jump onto a life raft as flames took hold of the newly bought vessel in Southampton water in February 2010.
At the High Court in London, Judge David Mackie said that, save for "attacks from submarines", the only likely cause of the explosion was a serious defect in the yacht's engine.
He ordered the dealer, Irish company MGM Marine Ltd, to hand over £291,000 to Mr Ward, plus interest, and up to £154,000 to cover his legal costs.
Mr Ward, of Lane End Drive, Woking, argued that the company had breached the Sale of Goods Act 1979 by supplying a boat which was not fit for use.
He told the London court he bought the Meridian 341 in 2009, and it was only 15 minutes into his first trip that the problems began.