A tour boat carrying 12 passengers exploded south of Nassau and Exuma in the Bahamas killing one woman and injuring nine others. The United States Coast Guard aided in the rescue airlifting several of the injured out and to area hospitals.
The Daily Mail reports that 10 aboard the tour boat are American, including the deceased woman, and two are Bahamian. The boat was said to have spontaneously burst into flames just after 9 a.m., and passengers on passing boats were said to have jumped in the water to aid with the rescue. Four of the Americans were airlifted to a hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper said that the dead woman was American and that two others are in critical condition.
“This is a sad day for Exuma and a sad day for our American friends. We are saddened and our hearts are hurting, but we will get through this together. Your prayers, as always, are needed and appreciated.”
The Royal Bahamas Police Force is investigating the explosion, and at this time the cause is unknown. The names of the victims have not yet been released.
ABC News says that the smoke from the explosion and fire could easily be seen off the coast of the town of Barraterre, Exuma. Royal Bahamas Police Force spokesperson Chanta Knowles confirmed that several passengers were taken to Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau for treatment including one man who broke his ankle.
According to the Bahamas website, the Exuma islands, or the Exumas are the less populated, more laid back Bahamian islands with fewer resorts and hotels. Many of the beaches are free of people, and nature is said to outnumber humans.
“While Nassau is home to big resorts and trendy restaurants, The Exumas have a much more laid-back vibe, the type of place where some inhabited cays only have one local restaurant and everyone knows each others’ name.”
Boating and diving are popular sports off of the Exumas, which are south of the Bahamian capital of Nassau.
“The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, beginning just 35 miles southeast of Nassau. Once called Yumey and Suma (names of Amer-Indian origin), the islands have gone through many changes over the years. Today, they’re divided into three major areas—Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays. “
This is a developing story and more information will be provided as it is available.