Boat explosion in Kentucky leaves 3 dead

(Courtesy: Kentucky State Police/WKRN)

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (WKRN) – An explosion on a docked tugboat in Kentucky killed three people and injured several others Friday, authorities said.

Work was being done on the vessel and preliminary reports indicate at least 20 people were aboard when the blast occurred shortly after 9 a.m. along the Tennessee River outside Calvert City, Kentucky State Police Detective Jody Cash said.

The explosion appeared to occur inside the boat, he said. Authorities offered no word about a cause. There was no early indication of foul play, Cash said.

Some of the injuries were life-threatening, he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the blast, along with numerous local emergency agencies. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent an investigator to the scene, Cash said.

The boat was still upright and had not sunk after the blast, the detective said. Several other boats were nearby, but damage appeared limited to the tugboat, he said.

Repairs appeared to be in progress when the explosion occurred, he said, but he didn’t immediately know what type of work was underway.

Authorities said they would not publicly identify the victims until after their families had been notified.

The tug boat’s owner was Western Rivers Boat Management, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston. A woman who answered the phone at Western Rivers said the company had no comment.

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