Cellphone video shows moments before vessel catches fire, explodes in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Cellphone video captured people on board a vessel moments before it caught fire and exploded along the New River, not far from downtown Fort Lauderdale.

A total of 21 people were on board the 41-foot vessel shooting a music video on Thursday.

Abraham Alejandro and Jesus Regalado were behind the cameras of the video, and they said at one point, they could smell gasoline while on the boat.

“During the trip, it kind of smelled a little gassy, but we were ignoring it, thinking like it was normal,” Alejandro said. “It’s just a blessing to be alive, you know what I’m saying? God is good.”

Not long after, there was explosion.

“People just started panicking and just jumping, people were jumping over me,” Regalado said. “Some guy jumped over me.”

“He got hit in the head,” Alejandro said.

However, some of the people on board could not swim and would not jump into the water.

If it wasn’t for Trent Perez and Zach Sparrow, who were on board a nearby boat, the incident could have worsened. They pulled their boat alongside and started pulling those on board off the vessel.

“It was within seconds, absolutely seconds,” Perez said. “Had we not been there a minute or two prior, all would have went down for sure.”

Seven people would be rushed to the hospital with two of them badly burned from the flames.

“Of the two that were traumas, one did have severe burns,” Dr. Jose Lozada, a trauma surgeon at Broward Health Medical Center, said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the lead agency on the case and said the boat fire is an active investigation.

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