A Bowmanville-area boater is lucky to be alive after his boat caught fire, then exploded in the Newcastle Marina.
Durham Regional Police’s marine unit responded to the call of a boat explosion early Friday afternoon.
“We were called to assist and assess the situation,” says Const. Harry Wirtz. “To my understanding he was re-fuelling and an explosion occurred.”
Police and the Clarington Fire Department were called to the scene.
According to witnesses, the blast sent the vessel’s engine cap flying into the air.
Mark Manley, who was boating at the time, says he saw the smoke billowing into the air.
“We came around the corner and could just see the smoke coming out of the boat. They took the guy out and laid him on the dock,” says Manley.
Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir says the man suffered a broken leg in the process of being rescued.
“It was fellow boaters that actually helped the man out of the burning vessel and onto the shore, then moving the boat away from the main fuel tank,” Weir says.
The man was then taken to an area hospital. Investigators say it’s still not clear exactly what happened. But there is a certain protocol travellers must follow when fuelling their boats.
“There are strict regulations when putting gas in your vessel, as any sort of sparks can ignite the fuel,” says Wirtz.
An investigation is ongoing as police look into what may have led to the explosion.
Wirtz says that to fuel up safely, “you want to make sure all your power is turned off and that your vessel is properly ventilated before you head out on the water.”
Boaters say this isn’t the first time an explosion has happened in the area and that the man is lucky he escaped with minor injuries.