Bystanders act quickly to rescue family after boat explosion on Big Turtle Lake

- The sight of a boat fully engulfed in flames sent resort owner Casey Jones racing out onto Big Turtle Lake.

“We’re far enough away from the world, you don’t wait for anyone to come help. You jump in and get it done,” Jones said, remembering the explosive incident.

The Jones family owns Arcadia Lodge in Big Fork, Minnesota, about four hours north of the metro in Itasca County.

A guest that was part of a large family reunion had taken several children tubing on their older model Wellcraft speedboat, when something went horribly wrong.

“He smelled smoke. By the time he turned around and was standing up, the back hatch covering the motor had exploded. Flames shooting up pretty high,” Jones said.

Jones said the boat operator tossed two children off the burning vessel into the water and he quickly followed.

They were wearing life jackets. Two other youngsters being pulled on a tube also plunged into the lake.

A nearby jet skier and other family members in boats raced to the scene. They safely got everyone to shore.

Casey Jones and a partner then hauled the burning remains into their boat launch where the fire eventually ran out of fuel and burned out.

Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported, but it was a scare no one at the Arcadia Lodge will soon forget.

“This is a new one for us,” said Jones. “Been here 30 years. This is the first boat engulfed in flames. Yeah, you do what you need to do.”

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