A mechanical failure is being blamed for causing the explosion in the engine compartment about 3:20 p.m. at the 13 mile mark of Wideford Hollow Cove, according to the preliminary crash report from the highway patrol.
A 35-year-old woman, identified as Amanda M. Kingston from Wincotte, Pennsylvania, was seriously injured and was flown to a hospital.
The boat’s 78-year-old operator, Benny E. Thomas of Four Seasons, Missouri, suffered minor injuries and also was taken to a hospital.
The fire on the boat was extinguished and the boat subsequently sank, the highway patrol said.
In 2019, The Star reported there were 157 boating accidents involving fuel-related fire or explosions, resulting in 2 deaths and 103 injuries in 2017, the most recent data available at the time from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Over the two years prior, the online news site LakeExpo had covered several similar explosions at Lake of the Ozarks that killed one man and injured three.
That included a 47-year-old Sunrise Beach man who was injured when his boat exploded just after refueling at the Paradise Bar & Grill’s docks. A month later, a 20-year-old Eldon woman was seriously injured when her 2002 Polaris personal watercraft exploded when she tried to start it.
The summer before, a 76-year-old Nevada, Missouri man was killed when a boat exploded at the gas docks at Pier 31. A 58-year-old El Dorado Springs woman was seriously injured in the blast.
The site also reported boaters were being urged last year to check for gas vapors in the engine compartments of their boats.
“We remind boaters to use the exhaust blower for at least 4 minutes after fueling & before starting the engine to remove gas vapors in the bilge,” the Missouri Highway State Highway Patrol said at the time.