FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Good Samaritans came to the rescue of nearly two dozen passengers and crew members after a boat docked near a Fort Lauderdale marina burst into flames, leaving 13 people injured.
Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Rescue responded to the area of Southwest 20th Street and 15th Avenue, near the Fort Lauderdale Marine Center, just north of State Road 84, at around 2 p.m., Thursday.
“We got initial reports of multiple individuals in the water with civilian boats in the area rescuing people that were burned and bringing them to the seawall for care,” said FLFR Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan.
7SkyForce HD captured heavy smoke and flames coming from the 41-foot vessel docked at a canal next to a construction site.
Several fireboats could also be seen arriving at the scene.
Rescue officials confirmed there were 21 people on board the boat when it exploded.
The outcome could have been more dire if it hadn’t been for the quick actions of boaters Trent Perez, Zach Sparrow and Bret King.
“I saw the boat. It had smoke coming out of it,” said Perez.
Perez said he, Sparrow and King were able to ensure people were off the boat before it became fully engulfed.
“Oh, it was within seconds, absolutely. Had we not been there a minute or two prior, all would have went down, for sure,” he said.
“The smoke had just pretty much gotten to its high point, that the fire was about to start,” said Sparrow. “Seconds later, a flame started. They all jumped on, and we tried to get as far away as possible.”
“By the time we got them to the bank, the boat was fully engulfed in flames,” said King.
Seven of those injured were transported to Broward Health Medical Center. Two of the patients are listed in critical condition.
“Of the two that were traumas, one did have severe burns,” said Dr. Jose Lozada, a trauma surgeon at Broward Health North.
One patient had to be airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital for care in its burn unit.
Passengers on board said they were shooting a music video at the time of the blast.
“Out of nowhere, after just pumping gas maybe five, six minutes before, out of nowhere, it completely exploded,” said passenger Abraham Alejandro.
Divers performed a sweep of the area to make sure everyone was accounted for.
The incident remains under investigation.
“We’ll be working on an investigation to see what caused the fire,” said Gollan.
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