Charter boat captain risks explosion to tow burning boat away from fuel pump

Captain Lee Tippett, on the charter fishing vessel Fin Finder II,  did more than just move his boat out of danger. He took the danger with him.

A 21-foot powerboat exploded while refueling at the Solomons Yachting Center. Captain Tippett threw an anchor on the burning boat, risking his life and livelihood to save a Solomons Island marina from a boat fully-engulfed in flames.

Terry Quinn with ©TheBayNet.com posted this video.

About ten minutes later, nearby resident Bill Gallagher captured this video of fire boats trying to contain the fire. Officials decided to let the hundred-plus gallons of the newly pumped fuel burn rather than sink into the river. By this time, the sun had set. (see more video by Bill on the ChesapeakeLiving YouTube page.)

The Thursday evening explosion launched the two men aboard into the water. Both men were rescued.

The owner of the boat, Michael Shawn Franz, 38, of Westminster was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital with second-degree burns. His father, 61-year-old Charles Franz, was not injured.

The charred boat hull has been removed from the water.

Burning boat being towed from Solomons Island marina
Burning boat being towed away from the Solomon’s Island marina Fin Finders Charter captain (Photo courtesy Fin Finder Charters)
Solomon's Island burning boat being towed behind charter boat
The burning boat being towed behind Finding Fin II (Photo courtesy Fin Finder Charters)

Here are more pictures.

 

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