Queen Anne’s County Emergency Services dispatched the call at 7:20 p.m. July 22 to the area of Eastern Bay and Bennett Point, said Lt. Andrew Wilson of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
The boat with six people on board were traveling from Kentmorr back toward Kent Narrows when someone noticed an odor of fuel, Wilson said. A few minutes later there was a loud bang and the engine was on fire, he said.
Fire Boat 2, headed by Capt. Troy Tilghman and a crew of five from Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department, was first on the scene.
“We found the boat adrift just south of Bodkin Island,” Tilghman said. There was no fire; the boat’s suppression system had put it out.
Fire Boat 2 evacuated the people aboard the boat and took them to Cove Creek Marina, where county paramedics waited and United Communities Volunteer Fire Department had set up ground command.
Of the six people on board, five sustained burn injuries in the explosion — three serious enough to be sent to the burn center, Tilghman said.
“We’re definitely lucky no one lost their life yesterday,” Tilghman said Saturday afternoon.
“They all had burns of some nature,” Wilson said.
He said a 16-year-old boy and a 49-year-old woman were flown by Maryland State Police helicopter, Trooper 6, to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore for treatment. A 51-year-old man also was transported to the burn center by ambulance.
Wilson did not have names of the victims, so no conditions were available. He did describe the injuries as “non-life-threatening.”
Fire Boat 1 from Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department took over the marine recovery effort after Fire Boat 2 evacuated the patients, Tilghman said. They towed the disabled vessel back to Kent Island Yacht Club.
In addition to NRP, and Grasonville, KI and United Communities VFDs, DES and MSP, mutual aid was provided by Tilghman Island and St. Michaels volunteer fire companies and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office also responded, Wilson said.