Five Suffer Burns in Kent Island Boat Explosion

A family outing on the boat turned dangerous off of Kent Island this past weekend. A 28-foot powerboat suffered an engine explosion that burned five of the six people on board. What caused the explosion? The Office of the Maryland Fire Marshal is working to find out.

Queen Anne’s County Emergency Services responded to the call in Eastern Bay in Queenstown, Md., with rescue boats coming from Grasonville, Kent Island, St Michaels, and Tilghman Island and land support from Kent Island VFD and United Communities VFD.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police (NRP) say the Rinker cabin cruiser was returning to the Kent Island area from the Kentmorr Marina property when the people aboard smelled the odor of gasoline. Shortly after, they heard a loud bang and the inboard engine compartment caught fire.

Five people were injured by the fire, with three family members being taken to burn centers for treatment—a 15-year-old boy, a 49-year-old woman and a 51-year-old man (the boat’s operator). The boy and the woman were flown to Johns Hopkins Bayview, while the operator was taken by ambulance. Two other people suffered burns but were not badly injured enough to be transported to the hospital.

All injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening.

The vessel was equipped with suppression equipment, according to NRP spokesman Lt. Andrew Wilson, and the fire was out by the time the fireboat arrived.

Lt. Wilson says there was a lack of ventilation in the engine compartment, so gas fumes were present, but there’s no word yet on whether the blower was operating. The fire marshal’s office will complete a report on the incident.

-Meg Walburn Viviano