A Belmont man was left with serious burns to his face and hands after an explosion occurred while he was cleaning his boat on Saturday at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.
The club’s general manager, Mark Norden, confirmed on Sunday the incident had completely destroyed the 59-year-old man’s 35ft motor cruiser and caused about $20,000 damage to the lakeside club and marina.
Police were called to the yacht club about 1.10pm on Saturday after a reported explosion aboard a boat moored in the marina.
Fire and Rescue NSW officers responded and took about two hours to extinguish the blaze that followed.
The injured boat owner was treated by paramedics at the scene and then taken to John Hunter Hospital in a serious condition.
Police said the man, who is a member of the yacht club, was the boat’s only occupant at the time and no one else was injured during the incident.
The yacht club, which had about 120 patrons inside at the time, was evacuated as a precaution.
“A member’s boat caught fire, staff evacuated the club and called the fire brigade,” general manager Mark Norden said on Sunday.
“He was washing the boat with a gurney.
“Whether he had a fuel leak and his bilge pump kicked in, or the gurney short-circuited and sparked, that [may have] caused the initial explosion.
“He jumped overboard and a couple of blokes grabbed him out of the water.
“[They] tried to put the fire out with extinguishers but there was obviously too much fuel there.”
Mr Norden said firefighters arrived in about three or four minutes to begin tackling the blaze.
He said the explosion occurred while the boat was in the club’s visitor’s berth.
The man’s boat was usually moored about 100 metres outside of the club’s marina.
It’s a write off, it will have to be salvaged at some stage this week.- Lake Macquarie Yacht Club general manager Mark Norden
“It’s a write off, it will have to be salvaged at some stage this week,” Mr Norden said of the burned-out vessel.
Lake Macquarie Yacht Club sustained damage to part of an outdoor wedding marquee, the visitor’s berth and exterior lights that were only installed last week.
Marine Area Command officers are examining the circumstances leading up to the incident.
The man is understood to have been transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital on Sunday in a stable condition but with serious burns.
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