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Salvage crew recovers sunken boat

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by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Salvage crews recovered the sunken hull of a 38-foot boat from the John Wayne Marina Thursday afternoon, two days after the craft exploded.

Residents from Sequim Bay to SunLand heard the boom Tuesday night when the boat blew up.

Two people on a neighboring boat were knocked off their feet by the blast but rushed to pull Keith Bryant from the wreckage of his sinking boat, the Escale, as paramedics arrived on the scene.

Bryant, 78, was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center Wednesday afternoon, where he was flown following his transport to Olympic Medical Center. Bryant suffered burns, back injuries and possible fractured bones in the explosion.

Investigators believe the explosion was caused by a propane tank, Sequim Police Sgt. Sean Madison said.

Patrick Young, fire district public information officer, said Clallam County Fire District 3 reported to “C” dock at the marina at 5:48 p.m. to discover the boat had exploded from an undetermined source while the owner was on board.

Young said the explosion had such force that boats within 75 yards received varying degrees of damage.
Two slips down, Clifford and Julie Houser, who rescued Bryant from the wreckage, sustained substantial damage to their boat with a large number of windows broken out, Young said.

The smell of gasoline was strong even hours later as employees of the Port of Port Angeles absorbed oil from the water with special cloths. Pillows, cushions, a table and a door were among the flotsam at the surface of the marina waters.

The fire district’s fire boat worked to contain spilled fuels and oils from the sunken boat as the Port of Port Angeles, the U.S. Coast Guard and other spill response agencies joined in the effort, Young said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan Bradshaw said the Port Angeles base provided a fly-over of the scene to determine the size of the contamination. The Coast Guard and Department of Ecology coordinated and supervised the clean-up efforts Wednesday and Thursday.

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.
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