Waianae boat explosion injures 6
Gas fumes could have sparked the explosion
A 21-foot boat exploded and sank at the Waianae Small Boat Harbor yesterday morning, injuring six people.
Four people were taken to the hospital in serious or stable condition, while two refused treatment.
"It's not a common occurrence," said William Aila Jr., the Waianae harbor master, adding that the last incident was about 18 years ago.
Firefighters and police responded to the 6:35 a.m. incident.
"I felt the percussion," said Adrian Bray, a bystander. "Everybody was running."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
A fiberglass-hulled boat exploded early yesterday morning while being launched at the boat dock in Waianae Small Boat Harbor. Four people were hospitalized. Richard Delos and Numer Abastas salvaged components from the boat's deck, which was blown off during the explosion. CLICK FOR LARGE
Gasoline fumes may have been the cause of an explosion that ripped apart a small boat and injured six people at the Waianae Small Boat Harbor yesterday.
"I saw parts of the boat and people in the air," said Adrian Bray, a bystander during the accident. "The boat just blew up."
One man dove into the water and rescued a man who was still in the flaming boat with a crushed leg, Bray said.
"I heard the sound and just saw everything in the air," Bray said. "Then the boat was just engulfed in flames."
The blast threw a man from the 21-foot Nikki B onto the pier, where he didn't move for about five minutes, he said. Another man was thrown into the water, Bray said.
Paramedics took two men, 52 and 40, by helicopter to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition. A 53-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were flown to Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center in stable condition, according to a Honolulu Medical Services spokesman.
The explosion knocked two people on the opposite side of the pier into their boats, injuring them. They did not require treatment, a fire department spokesman said.
Bray, who was working on a charter boat called Boom Boom, was at the harbor about 6 a.m. waiting for customers.
He saw three men in the Nikki B and the boy on the ramp lowering the boat into the water.
Witnesses said the boat exploded when the occupants put the boat in reverse, said William Aila, the Waianae Boat Harbor master.
Firefighters received the call about 6:35 a.m. and responded five minutes later to find the boat had already sank, according to a fire department spokesman.
Aila said the owner, a Makaha resident, had built the boat himself and recently finished it.
The blast separated the cab and deck from the hull. A Volvo gasoline engine powered the boat. Gasoline fumes likely caused the blast, Aila said.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating the incident.
Workers spent the morning recovering the boat from the harbor.
They attached float bags to the craft to lift it off the harbor bottom. The boat was a total loss. Damages were estimated at between $60,000 and $80,000, Aila said.