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Boat explodes in Norfolk Virginia

A Norfolk police officer investigates the scene of a boat explosion at Bay Point Marina in Norfolk on Wednesday. HYUNSOO LEO KIM / THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

By LOUIS HANSEN, The Virginian-Pilot
© August 9, 2007 | Last updated 11:37 PM Aug. 8


A 42-foot sailboat exploded late Wednesday afternoon at a marina in Ocean View, sending debris 40 feet into the air, demolishing the boat and leaving a man seriously wounded.

The man, whom rescue workers did not name, was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital's trauma center, said Battalion Chief Bruce Evans, the Fire Department spokesman.

The splintered remains of the sailboat, a 1974 model made by Irwin, floated around a 100-foot square debris patch at the Bay Point Marina. Witnesses said the blast could be heard across the marina and in nearby condos.

Emergency crews arrived at the 4800 block of Pretty Lake Ave. shortly after 6 p.m., Evans said. They found a badly injured man and the remains of his boat. "There's basically nothing left," Evans said.

Jane Slaterback was gardening in her nearby condo and heard the blast. She immediately looked toward the marina and saw debris flying 40 feet in the air.

“There’s basically nothing left,” Battalion Chief Bruce Evans said of the boat, seen here from an aerial view. Rodger Crawley | Courtesy of Sky 13/WVEC News

"I saw everything coming down," she said.

She went to the scene and discovered the demolished vessel was docked alongside her family sailboat, she said. Slaterback said the injured man was repairing a propane stove on his boat, which led to the explosion. She said she knew the man only by his first name.

Slaterback's boat and about 15 others suffered broken windows and other internal and external damage, Evans said.

Louis Hansen, (757) 446-2322,
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