Fumes blamed for Sea-Doo explosion on Lake Wylie

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comAugust 7, 2012 

— A highly unusual event last month on the lake leaves law enforcement without a clear message to convey, except to be cautious on the water.

On July 13, a Waxhaw, N.C., man riding a Sea-Doo personal watercraft near Buster Boyd Bridge re-cranked the vehicle after it stalled, at which point it exploded. Witnesses and law enforcement described the man as being thrown as high as the bridge. The rider was treated for minor injuries but was alert and conscious when help arrived.

Brett Witt, spokesman for investigating agency South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said there was no further action needed by law enforcement following the event.

“The initial investigation indicated it was a case of fumes igniting,” Witt said. “There were no charges filed.”

Sgt. Ed Ware with the York County Sheriff’s Office lake enforcement unit said there may have been work done to the personal watercraft engine by the rider before the explosion, but to his knowledge, there wasn’t a service or repair company involved.

Whereas many incidents on the water have clear message for other boaters on how to avoid similar problems, the explosion doesn’t, Witt said.

“That’s such a peculiar incident it’s hard to counsel someone on that other than to tell folks to observe all the boating safety rules, such as, make sure to use the blower on an inboard engine.”

Witt encourages personal watercraft users to use the online safety handbook for vehicles. For more on boating safety, visit boat-ed.com and click “South Carolina” and/or “North Carolina.”

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