A man who was on his way to the pub before racing to help those on-board a flaming boat has spoken about the terrifying ordeal.
A postman from a small NSW community on the Hawkesbury River has recalled the moment he was on the way to the pub on Easter Sunday when a loud explosion rippled through the air.
Cain Bettenson, 40, said he heard an “almighty bang, then a lot of screaming” on Sunday afternoon.
He had just driven past the nine-metre cruiser as it was about to leave the Hawkesbury River Marina, but it exploded and flames quickly engulfed the vessel.
“I just hightailed it back down to my boat and got on it and saw the boat on fire,” Mr Bettenson told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Best way to do it was to drench it with water, so I used my propeller to spray the vessel.”
He then explained how he towed the burning boat into the middle of the marina and went back to land to help treat burn victims.
Mr Bettenson said one of the victims had “nasty” burns on both arms and legs.
“(I) just tried to keep her company with her partner, tried to keep them both calm,” he said.
“The victims that got burnt, they didn’t get off lightly.”
Earlier, witnesses described how a couple who were on-board the boat with a baby narrowly escaped the explosion that severely injured eight people.
Dijana Hurdwell said the couple carrying their baby were incredibly lucky to have been at the front of the boat when it exploded at the vessel’s rear.
“The boat, it exploded and literally what we witnessed was … thank god the couple with the baby were at the front of the boat, the bow of the boat, because they were about to leave the marina,” she told 7 News.
“But the other adults on-board had to literally dive out … it was a horrific scene.”
The boat, which was allegedly refuelling at the time, burst into flames at a marina off Dangar Road at Brooklyn just after 5pm on Sunday.
A dozen ambulance crews raced to the scene alongside specialist medical teams and rescue helicopters.
Paramedics treated eight patients suffering burns and smoke inhalation. Six of them were taken to hospital.
Four patients were rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital under police escort. One is critical and three others are believed to be in a serious condition.
Two were transported to Westmead Hospital in a serious condition. They’ve since been moved to Concord and are stable.
NSW Ambulance on Sunday confirmed four people were critically injured.
“NSW Ambulance along with other emergency services established a triage area to assess all of our patients,” NSW Ambulance Inspector David Morris said in a statement on Sunday evening.
“Once the area was established, patients were reassessed by NSW Ambulance medical teams.
“NSW Police provided assistance in escorting these patients to various hospitals, with medical teams awaiting their arrival,” Inspector Morris said.