Father and son injured in boat explosion

00:28, Feb 25 2013

A father and son from Lower Hutt suffered moderate injuries in an explosion at Waikawa Marina near Picton yesterday.

The pair were treated by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter's onboard intensive care paramedic and flown to Wellington for further medical care about 9am yesterday.

St John team manager Jon Leach said the 7-year-old boy suffered a serious injury to his foot and his 42-year-old father suffered a moderate ankle injury.

The pair were not burnt and suffered the injuries due to debris hitting them with the associated shock wave.

Picton Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Wayne Wytenburg said the boat had been fuelled up moments before the explosion, which created a large fireball.

They were still looking into what caused the fireball, he said. He believed it may have been caused by a faulty fuel ventilation system on the boat, which trapped vapoursand sparked the explosion when the engine was started.


No-one else on the boat or the marina was injured and the marina was safe to use, he said.

The boat was towed back to the launching ramp and was in the Port Marlborough compound.

Port Marlborough chief executive Ian McNabb said he witnessed the aftermath of the explosion from his home overlooking the marina's fuel berth.

"There was a gas explosion when they went to restart the launch. It appears there may have been ventilation issues on the launch."

The people on the small launch were very fortunate, he said. "It could have been a lot worse."

The Picton job was one of three trips for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter yesterday. At 1.30pm the helicopter was sent to the George Stream area of the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, near Clarence river area, in response to reports of a tramper suffering chest pain.

The man was with a party of eight trampers and was located by the helicopter in George Stream.

Due to the nature of the terrain and the patient's condition, the patient and paramedic were winched onboard the helicopter from a rugged section of riverbed. The patient was then transported to Nelson Hospital.

In its third job the helicopter picked up a 64-year-old Australian tourist who injured her back in a fall at Sandfly Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park.

The woman was transported to Nelson Hospital.

The Nelson Mail