A day on the job led to a daring escape for one Fort Lauderdale videographer when the boat he was riding on exploded.
“Out of nowhere there was just, boom, a huge explosion went off and that’s when people started jumping off," Abraham Alejandro recalled.
Alejandro hadn’t started taping yet when the blast slammed him up against his seat on the boat. A fire ensued, and Alejandro says he and others couldn’t find any life jackets and that the fire extinguisher didn’t work.
“Even myself I’m like, OK, this isn’t going to work," he said. "This is my one chance to put out the fire, everyone needs to start getting off the boat.”
Twenty-one people were onboard the 40-foot vessel when it exploded just before 2 p.m. Thursday on the New River. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue rushed several people to the hospital for first, second and third-degree burns.
“I don’t know how I made it out like this clean, because the individual right beside me was the one that got 40% burn marks on him. His flesh falling off, it was pretty bad, it was gruesome," Alejandro said.
Everyone on the boat was there to shoot a music video for artist Jaican. A video shows some of the cast and crew boarding before the blast.
Alejandro says the boat didn’t work when they first got on, but a battery change got them on their way. Now he and his attorney question what else might have been wrong.
“Why were they allowing 21 people on the boat that isn’t designed to hold that number of people?" said his attorney, Brion Ross. "If there were mechanical problems from the beginning, what was our inspection process to find out?"
Fort Lauderdale police are still investigating what happened. It’s too soon to tell if anyone is at fault.
The scare may have changed Alejandro for good.
“It makes me not want to see water or think about being on the water for a long time," he said.
Two of the victims remain at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami for treatment of their extensive burns. One of them has life-threatening injuries.