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Report details lucky escape after marina explosion

24 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Photo by Jasper180969 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

A man was blown into the water and a woman thrown into the air by the force of an explosion that destroyed a boat and almost swept through a north Wales marina.

A harbour master’s report shows the impact of the fire could have been much more serious but for speedy response of Conwy Marina staff and the emergency services.

The fire, which broke out on September 9 left a woman with serious injuries and led to the death of a dog. The fire, as well destroying an eight-metre powerboat called Drum, also damaged a Welsh Government fishery patrol boat.

Thick black smoke billowed into the sky as firefighters, police, and paramedics rushed to the scene a Conwy harbour advisory committee meeting heard this week. Harbour master Matthew Forbes told councillors the couple who had been aboard the boat Drum were lucky not to have been more seriously injured.


Mr Forbes said: “It could have been a lot more serious than it was. There was a loud explosion. The marina staff moved quickly to isolate electrical supplies and stop vessels moving around the marina.

“The RNLI happened to be on a shout to another job, so they were tasked ahead to Conwy Marina. Due to reports of a fire, they helped evacuate people from the area.

“One of the male (boat) owners was blown into the water. He self-recovered and was assisted by people nearby, and the female owner was blown in the air (landing on the pontoons). I’ve actually seen how far she travelled, and I’ve got to say that it’s absolutely amazing that she only sustained the injuries she did really. She broke her ankles. She travelled a fair distance. Unfortunately, the dog was trapped inside, and that perished.”

He added: “The fire spread to the Lady Megan, which is a fishery patrol vessel. There is quite a lot of damage on her port side. The fire spread sufficiently enough that it burned into the engine room. So that vessel will be out of service for quite some time. I know the insurers are investigating, so I provided them with some details this week.”

Mr Forbes then explained that harbour staff had now recovered the sunken vessel and hoped an investigation would follow. “The vessel Drum sank, during the operation,” he said. “In my report it says we will be recovering it. We actually now have recovered it. We did it on Friday with some divers, quite a technical operation. We got it from the bottom, towed it round, and it’s now gone to shore for forensic analysis by the insurers and whoever else.”

He added, “We did, as we are required, made report to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Whether they investigate or not depends on how busy they are. I’d like to think they would in this instance because it could have been a lot more serious than it was, but that’s for them to decide really.”

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