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Greater Victoria Photos: July 23-29

Jul 30 2012
One young man suffered serious burns and three women were injured when a water ski boat caught fire on Shawnigan Lake Sunday afternoon. 

One young man suffered serious burns and three women were injured when a water ski boat caught fire on Shawnigan Lake Sunday afternoon.

Photograph by: Drive B.C.

One young man suffered serious burns and three women were injured when a water ski boat caught fire on Shawnigan Lake Sunday afternoon.

The fire is still under investigation but there are reports of an explosion in the engine compartment when the male operator tried to start the boat, Mike Wright, deputy chief of the Shawnigan Lake volunteer fire department, said in an interview.  

The man suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face, neck and chest and had to be transported by air ambulance to hospital in Victoria, Wright said.

The three female occupants of the boat suffered less serious injuries, and were also taken to hospital, he said.

“There was a report that one was actually blown out of the boat by the percussion,” Wright said. “The other two jumped into the water.”

All the occupants, who were believed to be in their 20s, had been picked up by other boaters and taken to a nearby dock by the time emergency crews arrived.

The volunteer fire department, which received the call for assistance about 2 p.m.,  dispatched two fire engines, a fire boat and a rescue unit to the scene along with a dozen firefighters.

Wright said the boat was engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived and it burned to the water line.

“Once you get a fibreglass hull fuelled by hydrocarbons, there’s really not a whole lot you can do,” he said. “Our concern was keeping other boats away and keeping [the fire] away from residents.”

After the incident, fire crews put up a containment boom to protect against any environmental damage caused by the fire, Wright said.

Shawnigan Lake RCMP are investigating the incident, but had yet to release any information.

lkines@timescolonist.com

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