13 People Injured After Boat Holding Music Video Shoot Explodes on Florida River
16th October 2020

Thirteen people were injured, one critically, after a boat being used for a music video shoot exploded on a Florida river Thursday afternoon.

Of those injured, seven people were hospitalized in the incident, which occurred just before 2 p.m. on the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said at a press conference.

Twenty-one people were on board the 41-foot Wellcraft when two explosions rocked the boat, sending passengers jumping into the water.

Gollan tells PEOPLE that people on the scene confirmed to authorities that the group was filming a low-budget music video, and video crew members were among those on the boat.

"Out of nowhere, after just pumping gas maybe five, six minutes before, out of nowhere, it completely exploded," passenger Abraham Alejandro told Fox affiliate WSVN.

All 13 injuries were burns that ranged from first to third degree, and seven people were transported to Broward Health, Gollan said.

Gollan tells PEOPLE that two of the injuries were severe, and one person in critical condition was transferred to the Miami Burn Center with burns covering 40% of his body.

All other patients were treated on the scene by emergency responders and signed refusals, he said.

Witness Bret King said that he and three others were on a workboat on the river when they noticed four people on the bow of the Wellcraft, and smoke coming out of the cockpit.

“We took four people off the bow of the boat, took them to shore, and then pushed the boat into the bank over there,” he said at a press conference. “By the time we got them to the bank, the boat was fully engulfed in flames.”

“[We] saw some people that needed help,” he added. “Gotta help people.”

Gollan described the scene as “challenging,” as the boat was on the north side of the river and the patients on the south side, so crews had to split up in order to tend to the victims and also put out the rest of the flames from the two-alarm fire.

“Boats are fuel tanks, so there’s a lot of concern with the amount of fuel that’s on a boat,” he explained. “Boats aren’t tethered to the shoreline, so you now have basically what’s a floating fire ball going down the New River.”

The flames were extinguished by fire rescue boats by 3:30 p.m., the Sun Sentinel reported.

The cause of the incident remains unclear, and Gollan tells PEOPLE that the investigation will be handled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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