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Eleven Injured In Fla. Boat Explosion

Six people were seriously injured Saturday in a pleasure boat explosion in Florida's Tampa Bay, authorities said.

The 33-foot, twin-engine Sea Ray exploded and burned to the waterline Saturday afternoon while anchored in 3 feet of water off of what's known as Beer Can Island, according to Gary Morse of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Eleven people were injured, including the six who were flown by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital. Five other children were treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital, Morse said.

He said 14 people in an extended family departed at 10:30 a.m. from Apollo Beach, Fla., for the island, which Morse said is a popular place for boaters to anchor.

"Six children were forward watching a movie, five adults were in the aft portion of the vessel and three others were wading 30 feet from the boat when there was an explosion in the rear portion of the vessel," Morse said.

Other boaters and authorities - including the U.S. Coast Guard and emergency crews from nearby MacDill Air Force Base - came to the aid of the burning boat, he said.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation. Morse said the boat's twin engines were not operating at the time, although a gasoline generator was.

The boat was owned by George Meyer, who was on the boat with extended family members when the explosion happened, said Morse, who declined to say if Meyer was injured.