5 injured in Eastern Shore boat explosion

OCEAN PINES, Md. - After seeing the boat in flames, Patrick McAllorum wasn't sure how anybody on board would survive.

Shortly after 2 p.m., a 24-foot boat docked in Ocean Pines, Md. exploded.  McAllorum, who lives three doors down of the blast's location, says the "whole neighborhood rocked," and ten seconds later, black smoke could be seen billowing from the boat.

According to Candy Thomson with the Maryland Natural Resources police, the boat owner, Neil Edwards, 54, his wife Bonnie, 48, and daughter Shannon, 18, of Springfield, Va., were hosting two friends from Escondido, Ca. to a day on their boat in Ocean Pines, Md.  

Neil Edwards went out around 2 p.m., opened the hatches, started the blowers and went back into the house to get a cooler and invite everybody to the boat.  After they boarded, Edwards backed the boat up and, when switching it into forward gear, the boat exploded.  All five passengers either jumped off of boat or were ejected by the blast, as they were helped out of the water by neighbors.

The guests from California, identified as Dawn Van Deursen, 49, and Larry MacPherson, 57, were most seriously injured and flown by Maryland State Police to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center for burns to their arms and lower legs.  They are expected to spend the next two days at the burn center.

Neil and Bonnie Edwards were transported to a local hospital and later released.  Shannon, who had been on the bow when the explosion happened, was farthest from the blast and was helped on the scene, refusing further treatment.

Ocean Pines Fire Department responded first to the scene to extinguish the fire, later assisted by the Department of Natural Resources and Maryland State Police.  Cleanup crews in hazmat suits were called to the scene to contain and clean the explosion.

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