Heart-stopping moment father and child escape Brooklyn boat explosion

Heart-stopping moment a boat explodes and causes devastating injuries to passengers who run in panic from the scene before they are attended by shocked witnesses

  • Father and child avoid serious injury after the boat they were on exploded 
  • It exploded at the Hawkesbury River Marina, Brooklyn, about 5pm Sunday
  • Six people with ‘varying burns’ have been rushed to different hospitals 
  • CCTV footage has captured the vessel exploding and the group’s escape

Scrambling to escape a flame-engulfed boat on Easter Sunday, a father cradles his two-year-old child as they bolt down the jetty.

A long-weekend trip with friends ended in horror after a boat suddenly exploded north of Sydney, leaving four people in induced comas with severe burns.   

CCTV footage from the Hawkesbury River Marina, at Brooklyn, captured the moment the vessel exploded near Dangar Island just after 5pm when the skipper turned on the ignition shortly after refuelling. 

The group can be seen casually strolling back to the watercraft after a brief pit stop at the jetty to refuel before packing into the vessel.  

Several people crowd around the skipper in the stern while others stand on the bow, waiting to take off. 

CCTV footage from the Hawkesbury River Marina, at Brooklyn, captured the group piling onto the boat moments before it exploded on Easter Sunday 

The boat exploded when the skipper turned on the ignition, the force knocking those on the stern to the ground

But as the key strikes the ignition, the stern combusts and flames pour over all of those standing at the rear of the boat, with the force knocking them flat.   

A couple and a two-year-old child standing on the bow dash down the front of the vessel to jump onto the boardwalk as the father tightly clutches the infant, footage shows. 

Those in the front quickly clamber over the sides of the boat back onto the wharf to escape, with several people doubling back to help stumbling friends. 

Eleven people were on or near the boat when it exploded, with the injured running back to the marina where bystanders turned the area into a makeshift triage, filling containers with water and grabbing hoses to soothe burns, 9News reports.

Meanwhile, local postman Cain Betterson jumped in his tinny and rushed to the boat to try and extinguish the flames. 

Revving his tinny’s motor, he sprayed water at the flames before turning to fire extinguishers, then rammed the boat away from the wharf.

‘I know the old girl puts up a big bit of water so it was the best I could do and get it away from the bowser,’ Mr Betterson said.

‘With the amount of fuel that’s on that and the amount of fuel that’s here and all the residents … I love all these people here.’

Emergency services rushed to the scene where they found eight people injured and  flames devouring the boat. 

A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said two patients were rushed to Westmead Hospital in a critical condition while four people were taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious condition. 

Two others were treated for minor injuries by paramedics at the scene. 

A female victim, 27,  is fighting for her life at Royal North Shore Hospital with burns to 60 per cent of her body, while two other woman, aged 25 and 29, and a man, 22, remain in serious conditions and in induced comas at the same hospital. 

The group ran down the jetty, with a father clutching his two-year-old child, as the boat burned in the Marina

Six people were rushed to hospital after a boat exploded at the Hawkesbury River Marina, at Brooklyn (pictured), just after 5pm on Sunday

The 25-year-old suffered burns to 40 per cent of her body, while the 29-year-old and 22-year-old sustained burns to 12 per cent of their bodies. 

A 33-year-old man, and another man whose age is yet to be determined, were taken to Westmead where they are being treated for minor burns. 

NSW Ambulance inspector David Morris said the explosion was the most catastrophic he had seen in his 15-year career.

‘It’s one of the worst incidents I’ve seen in my 15-year career in ambulance, and thankfully we had all the other emergency services here to help us out,’ Morris told media after the incident.

An onlooker said they were eating ice creams at the marina when they noticed the mother and toddler taking pictures near the bow of the vessel. 

The woman appeared to be taking pictures with the little one right up until the explosion, which occurred at the other end of the boat.  

‘Thankfully the couple with the baby were on the bow of the boat and not near the explosion,’ the witness said.

‘We witnessed a really horrific scene.’

Another witness said a woman with ‘several kids’ had stepped off the boat moments earlier to buy ice cream nearby, The Daily Telegraph reported. 

Local postman Cain Betterson (pictured) rushed to the boat to try and extinguish the flames 

One woman is in a critical condition, three people are in a serious condition, and another two suffered minor injuries

Rural Fire Service volunteers treated the patients at the scene until paramedics arrived.

‘NSW Ambulance along with other emergency services established a triage area to assess all of our patients,’ NSW Ambulance inspector David Morris said in a statement on Sunday evening.

‘Once the area was established, patients were reassessed by NSW Ambulance medical teams.

‘NSW Police provided assistance in escorting these patients to various hospitals with medical teams awaiting their arrival.’ 

Two crews from Marine Rescue Hawkesbury began extinguishing the flames before the RFS arrived to put out the fire with assistance of Fire and Rescue NSW.

Fire and Rescue NSW said firefighters were tasked with driving ambulances to allow paramedics to treat patients in transit because of the seriousness of their injuries.

The vessel has sunk in shallow water with a slow fuel leak, with hazardous materials experts called in to contain it.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Firefighters arrived to find the vessel (pictured) alight with smoke billowing metres into the air

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