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Explosion During Tour Boat Launching Injures 1

July 4, 2012, 10:09 AM HST
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One person was injured Tuesday evening when an explosion occurred during the launching of a tour boat at Honokohau Harbor in Kona.

The explosion about the 25-foot, rigid-hull Zodiac apparently was caused by gasoline fumes below the deck, Acting Captain J. Yamamoto of the Kailua fire station said in a statement. It was unknown what sparked the fumes.

The owner and operator of the boat, along with deckhands and bystanders, used hand-held fire extinguishers to put out flames left from the explosion. The vessel was also described as having an automatic fire extinguishing system.

County paramedics arriving at the scene at about 6:30 p.m found the injured man away from the vessel with people holding a bloody dressing to his head.

The unidentified man suffered a laceration to his head and singed hairs on his arms and face but was able to walk and talk, Yamamoto said. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital in good condition.

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The Zodiac was found on its trailer with the floorboards open and dry chemical fire extinguisher material over its interior.

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The vessel is registered to Sea Water Rafting, which provides “snorkeling, whale watching and adventure boat tours” along the Kona and Kohala coasts, according to its website.

The company also provides manta ray night snorkel tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays lasting from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the website said.

The vessel valued at more than $150,000 sustained approximately $3,000 in damage from the incident, the statement said.

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