Marina Leblanc boat explosion leaves man injured in Ottawa River
Experienced boat mechanic taken to hospital with burns to arms, legs and ear, witnesses say
A man was rescued from the Ottawa River with serious burns Saturday morning after an explosion on the boat he was on at Marina Leblanc in Gatineau.
The Gatineau fire department said the man was conscious in the water when emergency crews arrived at the marina, which harbours nearly 200 boats in the east end of the city.
Witnesses told Radio-Canada that the man, who works as a mechanic, was turning the engine when a ball of fire engulfed the boat.
"It was a big explosion," said Pierre Hamel. "I saw him jump out of the boat — jump on the dock — and then jump into the water, of course, he suffered some burns on his arms, his ear and also his legs."
The man seemed to be in shock but was walking around and talking to other people at the marina before the ambulance arrived, Richard Leblanc told Radio-Canada.
"His pants were full of holes, as well as his shirt. He had a nice tattoo that was peeling off, like he had been skinned," Leblanc said. "His hair was all black and singed."
The man was transported to hospital.
It's not yet known what caused the explosion but "there was something that went amiss," Hamel said.
"He's done many thousands of boats. Worked in all kinds of situations before," he said, adding that certain precautions can minimize risks.
"We can never stress it enough to people: before you start your engines, always start your blowers because the bottom of the boat gets all full of fumes, wanted or not."