NAPLES — A Massachusetts man was injured late Saturday afternoon when he was thrown about 20 feet into the air after the personal watercraft he was attempting to start exploded.
Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service said Karl Marchionda, 31, of Danvers, Mass., was taken to Bridgton Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, mostly to his face. He was not burned during the incident.
MacDonald said the the accident happened about 4:50 p.m. at Long Lake Marina in Naples. Marchionda fueled a Sea-Doo GTX155 PWC with about 10 gallons of gas at the marina and was seated on the machine in the water attempting to start it when it suddenly exploded.
MacDonald reported that the explosion launched Marchionda about 20 feet into the air and he landed face-first on the dock. The engine cover was thrown about 60 feet, according to witnesses.
Marchionda was the only person on the machine when the accident occurred, MacDonald said. He added that marina owner James Davenport quickly extinguished the fire that started in the hull of the Sea-Doo.
MacDonald said Warden Neal Wykes, primary investigator for the accident, reported a lock ring securing the fuel lines to the gas tank had become loose and allowed some fuel to enter the hull of the machine. Early investigation into the cause of the explosion points to gas fume ignition when the machine was started.
The Maine Warden Service was assisted by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and Naples Fire and Rescue. The incident remains under investigation.