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US boat explosion injures 12

TWELVE people were injured after a small cabin cruiser exploded near the shores of Tampa, Florida. yesterday, US authorities said.

Seven people, including a child, were seriously injured, while five other children suffered minor wounds, Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Bill Wade told reporters.

Bud Wendel, a witness, saw the explosion of the boat, which at the time was anchored off the Pine Key Island, also known as the Beer Can Island in the Tampa Bay.

"All of a sudden there was a big boom, like a cannon going off. Next thing we know, we see black smoke billowing up from across island, about 100 yards west of us. It was a huge explosion, the boat just blew up," said Wendel.

The seven seriously injured patients were taken by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital, and three of them suffered potentially life-threatening injuries.

The five children who received minor injuries were taken to another location for evaluation, Wade said in a media alert.

The people on the boat belong to an extended family, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which is investigating the cause of the accident.


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