Three Ontario boaters were rushed to hospital Saturday after their boat exploded in what appears to be a refueling accident.
The boaters – a 53-year-old woman, a 45-year-old man and a 56-year-old man, were taken to hospitals in Oakville and Hamilton with non life-threatening injuries following an explosion and fire at the Oakville Power Boat Club, near the mouth of 16 Mile Creek on western Lake Ontario.
"We had a boat fuelling up, and when it pulled away from the dock it blew up,' said Jon Leeson, Commodore of the Oakville Power Boat Club, in an interview with the Toronto Star. "The people on board ‘got blown straight out,' he said.
The Fire Marshal, Oakville fire and Halton police are all investigating the cause of the blast, which happened at about 3:30 pm. Witness reports suggest the boat operator may have started the engine without first activating the engine compartment blower, allowing accumulated fuel fumes to ignite.
Witnesses described hearing a loud "kaboom' and seeing thick clouds of smoke billowing from the dock.
By Saturday evening the vessel had sunk to the bottom of 16 Mile Creek and officials struggled to contain a considerable debris field. It is unclear how much fuel is left in the boat and how much has spilled into the creek. Authorities at the Ministry of the Environment have been notified and are monitoring the situation.