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Fire Service says a fuel leak is at the center of the Boat Explosion Investigation

As the incident occurred, the Fire Department deployed two trucks on the scene. Though there was no fire, the fire service assisted the paramedic from BERT with a triage to attend to the victims. When the injured were taken to the hospitals, the Fire Department then deployed its resources into investigative mode. Berisford Matura, the Assistant Fire Chief told us today that the boat was owned by a Mexican company, not Ocean Ferry. Matura told us that though the investigation is still ongoing, a fuel leak is at the center of the inquiry.

Berisford Matura – Assistant Fire Chief: “Ocean Ferry had rented this boat for the day from a company named San Pedro Water Jet International a Mexican owned company. The boat was a 45 ft boat with a passenger capacity of sixty-eight. Yesterday on the said time there were thirty-four passengers on that boat. Interviewing the crew: the boat captain was Ernesto Delgado twenty nine years-old. He was assisted by two deckhands: Santiago Guzman and Jonathan Teck. They had just fueled up the boat, the boat had four two hundred horsepower engines. The captain started the engines one by one on the fourth engine that is when the explosion occurred. After dealing with the scene we started to look at the preliminary looks: the examination of the stern of the boat, that is the area in the back of the boat where the explosion occurred. We realized that at some point within the stern of the boat there was a buildup of gasoline so that showed us that there was a sign of some sort of leak either from the fuel tank or fuel line. It is unknown which of the above but it is still under investigation but we ascertained that it was a leak when fuel especially gasoline which has a flammable range of 1.5% to 7.5%. Once the mixture of gasoline vapors is within the air at that certain range, any spark can trigger it off and that is what occurred yesterday in the stern of that boat. There was a leak and it was at the right percentage and it created a sudden explosion. The boat had three fuel tanks on it and they were all filled, nothing happened to them. If those tanks would had exploded we would be in a different story here today. We are looking into a mechanism called the bilge pump. That is the pump that trips in automatically once water is in the bottom of the boat, it automatically pumps out the water from the bottom of the boat. It is electrical, it has a switch that turns on and turns off so we are looking at that and also at the fourth engine because it was when the fourth engine started the explosion happened so we are looking at both of those to see which one might have a fault where a spark would have occurred to trigger off this fuel that was in the presence of a spark.”