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Explosion burns boat, injures woman, 2 teens at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands
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An explosion on Lake Lanier May 9, 2021, burned a boat and injured several people, including two teenagers.

By Nick Watson and Kelsey Podo

An explosion Sunday afternoon at Lanier Islands burned a boat, caused a dock fire and sent several people, including two teenagers, to the hospital.

Hall County Fire Services Division Chief Zachary Brackett said firefighters responded about 2:30 p.m. to the Port of Indecision at Margaritaville to find a boat fully engulfed in flames and several people injured.

Boat explosion

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Brackett said a 16-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy were flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. A 39-year-old woman was taken to Grady via ambulance. 

Brackett said the three who were taken to the hospital were all occupying the boat when the incident took place.

“Everyone (the three) was transported for burn injuries,” Brackett said. “The degrees and severity, I think it varies on all three. This was a pretty significant incident.”

Gofundme account was started for the family. As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, the account had raised more than $18,000.

“The youngest son, mother and father sustained minor burns but their oldest daughter and middle son are currently in ICU,” according to the Gofundme. “The good news is that they all survived and their injuries are not life threatening. But the children have a long road ahead. The oldest daughter suffered the worst of the injuries and will remain sedated a minimum of a week to get her through the worst of the pain. She has been in surgery most of today with skin grafts and scraping the burned tissue.”

Connor McCormick, of Alpharetta, said he and his family were out celebrating Mother’s Day. With their boat tied up two slips down, McCormick said they were getting ice and listening to music.

“All of a sudden out of nowhere, you just heard this loud bang,” he said. “My dad and I turned around and thought we had blown the subwoofer and looked up again and saw flames sort of spewing out of the back of this boat and people in the water.”

McCormick said he and his father along with at least one other family ran toward the boat.

“Everyone was screaming, and it was just chaos and trying to pull people out of the water,” he said.

The boat started billowing black smoke, McCormick said, as he thought the dock was in danger.

“Right after the dad got lifted out, that’s when we sort of realized that we had to get our boat out of there,” he said.

Three other people declined to be taken to the hospital.

Brackett said the incident happened at the gas docks. A personal watercraft drifted away causing an associated fire. 

Brackett said the cause is under investigation.