Six children were burned — two seriously — by a flash fire that occurred during a Memorial Day boat ride on the South River.
Two of the three adults on board also suffered minor injuries.
None of the burns appear to be life-threatening, said Division Chief Keith Swindle of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
Witnesses watching from shore called 911 at 12:03 p.m. Monday when the 32-foot Wellcraft power boat exploded in flames. Swindle said that the boat had just been fueled at Oak Grove Marina and was heading out into the river when the motor stalled. As the passengers attempted to restart the motor, a flash fire occurred. The flames triggered the boat's fire protection system, which snuffed out the blaze.
The boat's operator threw some children overboard, and then tossed life jackets into the water after them while others jumped into the water themselves, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police Sgt. Brian K. Albert. The operator remained behind briefly until the fire was under control, then dove into the river himself.
"It could have been much, much worse," Albert said.
The two most seriously injured children — a 9-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy — were evacuated from the marina by helicopter and being treated at Johns Hopkins' Children's Center. A 34-year-old woman and her 13-year-old daughter were taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Hopkins.
An adult woman and three other children — two girls, ages 13 and 12, and a 9-year-old boy — were taken to the Anne Arundel Medical Center and were treated for minor injuries. The boat operator was not hospitalized.
The accident is being investigated by the Maryland Natural Resources Police.