A father tries to escape from a flame-engulfed boat on Easter Sunday and cradles his two-year-old as they descend the dock.
A long weekend trip with friends ended in horror after a boat suddenly exploded north of Sydney, leaving four people in a coma with severe burns.
CCTV footage of Brooklyn’s Hawkesbury River Marina, captured when the ship exploded near Dangar Island just after 5:00 p.m. when the skipper turned on ignition shortly after refueling.
The group can be seen casually strolling back to the craft after a short pit stop at the dock to refuel before boarding the ship.
Several people crowd around the skipper in the stern while others in the bow are waiting to take off.
CCTV footage from the Hawkesbury River Marina, in Brooklyn, captured the group piling up on the boat just before it exploded on Easter Sunday
The boat exploded when the skipper turned on the ignition, knocking the people in the stern to the ground
But when the key hits the ignition, the stern ignites and flames flood all those standing at the back of the boat, with the force knocking them flat.
A couple and a two-year-old child standing on the bow run along the front of the ship to jump onto the boardwalk while the father holds the child tightly, the footage shows.
Those in the front quickly scramble over the sides of the boat back to the dock to escape, with some people doubling back to help tripping friends.
Eleven people were on or near the boat when it exploded, with the injured running back to the marina where bystanders turned the area into makeshift triage, filling containers with water and grabbing hoses to ease burns, 9 News reports.
Meanwhile, local mailman Cain Betterson jumped into his tinny and rushed to the boat to try to put out the flames.
He cranked his can’s engine, sprayed water on the flames before turning to fire extinguishers, and rammed the boat away from the dock.
“I know the old girl put down a good amount of water, so it was the best I could do and get it away from the bow engine,” Mr. Betterson said.
“With the amount of fuel on it and the amount of fuel here and all the residents … I love all these people here.”
Emergency services rushed to where they found eight injured people and flames devouring the boat.
A spokesperson for NSW Ambulance said two critically ill patients were rushed to Westmead Hospital, while four people in severe condition were transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital.
Two others were treated on the spot by ambulance personnel for minor injuries.
A female victim, 27, fights for her life at Royal North Shore Hospital with burns to 60 percent of her body, while two other women aged 25 and 29 and a man aged 22 are in serious condition and in an induced coma . in the same hospital.
The group ran off the dock with a father holding his two-year-old child, while the boat burned in the marina.
Six people were rushed to hospital after a boat exploded in Brooklyn’s Hawkesbury River Marina (pictured) just after 5:00 PM on Sunday
The 25-year-old sustained burns to 40 percent of her body, while the 29-year-old and 22-year-old sustained burns to 12 percent of their body.
A 33-year-old man and another man whose age has yet to be determined have been taken to Westmead where they are being treated for minor burns.
NSW Ambulance Inspector David Morris said the explosion was the most disastrous he had seen in his 15-year career.
“It’s one of the worst incidents I’ve seen in my 15-year ambulance career, and luckily we had all the other emergency services here to help us,” Morris told media after the incident.
An onlooker said they were eating ice cream at the marina when they saw the mother and toddler taking pictures at the bow of the ship.
The woman seemed to be taking pictures with the little one up to the explosion on the other side of the boat.
“Fortunately, the couple with the baby were on the bow of the boat and not near the explosion,” the witness said.
“We witnessed a really gruesome scene.”
Another witness said a woman with “multiple children” got off the boat a little earlier to buy ice cream nearby, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Local mailman Cain Betterson (pictured) rushed to the boat to try and extinguish the flames
One woman is in critical condition, three people are in serious condition, and another two have sustained minor injuries
Volunteers from the national fire service treated the patients on site until the ambulance arrived.
“NSW Ambulance, along with other emergency services, has established a triage area to assess all of our patients,” NSW Ambulance inspector David Morris said in a statement Sunday evening.
Once the area was identified, the patients were reassessed by the NSW Ambulance medical teams.
“NSW police have provided assistance in escorting these patients to various hospitals with medical teams awaiting their arrival.”
Two crews from Marine Rescue Hawkesbury began extinguishing the flames before the RFS arrived to extinguish the fire with the help of Fire and Rescue NSW.
Fire and Rescue NSW said firefighters were tasked with operating ambulances to enable paramedics to treat patients on the go due to the severity of their injuries.
The ship has sunk in shallow water with a slow fuel leak, and hazardous materials experts have been called in to contain it.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Firefighters arrived to see the vessel (photo) on fire with meter-high smoke