Teen injured in boat explosion on Lake Pleasant

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

LAKE PLEASANT, Ariz. -- A 17-year-old man suffered critical burns to his arms and legs after the boat he was in exploded on Lake Pleasant Monday evening.

Four passengers were on board when the explosion happened. Three of them jumped out and swam to safety.

The fourth man, Jonathan Rivera, was knocked unconscious.

Rivera says his legs were beginning to burn when the three other men pulled him into the water to cool him down and he came to.

He was eventually rescued as the boat began to sink. He was airlifted to Maricopa Medical Center with burns to his arms and legs.

Peoria Fire Batallion Chief Tom Pendley said the boat had just refueled at the marina and was headed back out to the water when it exploded.

"I've never seen anything like that," said Dave Demokos of Vessel Assistance, a group that helps stranded boaters. "The damage was so extreme that [the boat] started to sink."

Demokos and his crew went out to the scene to assist.

David and Mikal Benion were on board when it happened and were able to escape with minor injuries.

"I heard a loud boom," David said. "I didn't even have time to think. We were just yelling at each other to get off."

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.