Two escape boat explosion on the bay

Vessel goes down 1,500 feet offshore

July 05, 2008|By Kevin Rector

A 30-foot powerboat with two Virginia residents aboard exploded and sank in the Chesapeake Bay near Edgewater about 3:10 p.m. yesterday, authorities said.

The pair were able to swim away from the burning boat and were pulled from the water by nearby boaters, said Lt. Frank Fennell, an Anne Arundel County fire spokesman.

The boat's occupants were identified as Guy D. DeStefano, 40, and Elizabeth K. Spencer, 31, both of Alexandria, said Sgt. Ken Turner, a spokesman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Spencer was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center with a minor injury to her elbow, officials said. DeStafano, the boat's operator, was not injured.

Investigators believe the explosion was caused by a mechanical failure, Turner said.

The boat was about 1,500 feet from shore, near Turkey Point and Hillsmere Shores, not far from Annapolis. Three fireboats - two from the county and one from Annapolis - used hoses that shoot a mixture of fire-smothering foam and water drawn directly from the bay to put out the flames, Fennell said.

The boat sank in 17 feet of water, and the area was marked as a potential navigation hazard, Fennell said. A private company will remove the boat from the bay, he said.

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