Explosion on towboat in Kentucky kills three, injures six

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(CALVERT CITY, Ky.) — An explosion aboard a towboat docked for repairs killed three people and injured six others Friday, WTOP reported.

Dozens of people were either aboard the towboat, William E. Strait, or at the site, owned by First Marine along the Tennessee River, when the blast occurred shortly after 9 a.m., Kentucky State Police Detective Jody Cash said. The explosion appeared to occur inside the boat, resulting in a flash fire, he said. There was no immediate information about the cause.

Some of the injuries were serious, Cash said.

The three victims were identified as Timothy L. Wright, 52, of Calvert City; Jerome A. Smith, 56, of Thibodaux, La.; and Quentin J. Stewart, 41, of Opelousas, La.

The boat, owned by Smithland Towing and operated by Western Rivers Boat Management, partially sank in the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., in December 2015 after colliding with barges pushed by another towboat. Damage in the accident was estimated at $2 million.

Click here to read the story about Friday's explosion.

By Professional Mariner Staff