BELIZE CITY, Wed. May 8, 2019– An ongoing investigation into the explosion that occurred at about 3:00 Sunday afternoon onboard “Water Jets”, a water taxi that was docked at the Ocean Ferry Water Taxi near the Swing Bridge, Belize City, revealed that the fatal explosion, which killed sisters Jamiri Guy, 10, and Kimberly Guy, 8, and injured 19 passengers on the boat, was caused by leaking gas that was ignited by a spark.
The Belize National Fire Service, the main body investigating the explosion, said that it is not yet certain what mechanism caused the spark that set off the explosion. They are looking closely at the bilge pump that comes on automatically to pump out water when the boat’s engine is started, and the ignition system.
Acting Fire Chief, Ben Matura, said that the water taxi, which was the 3:00 p.m. run from Belize City to Caye Caulker and onto San Pedro, had just refueled. The boat was fitted with four 200-horse power outboard engines, and the captain started the engines one by one; when he started the fourth engine, the explosion occurred.
An examination at the stern of the boat, near the engines, revealed that there was a buildup of gasoline due to a leakage in the gas line, or in the gas tank. Matura said that when gas vapor mixes with air, it can be ignited if an igniting source is within range. He said that this was the case, that gas vapor was ignited by a spark, which caused the explosion.
Matura said that the investigation into the explosion continued, but they are confident that it was caused by leaking gas that was ignited by a spark.
During the regular police press brief held at the Raccoon Street Police Station, ASP Alejandro Cowo said that Rosalie Catch, 27, a domestic of Xaibe, Corozal District, the mother of the two girls who were killed in the explosion, was released from the hospital on Monday after she was treated for her injuries, and the girls’ stepfather, Jaime Interiano, 37, a baker of Caye Caulker, was released from the hospital yesterday after receiving treatment.
Two Canadians who suffered injuries in the explosion are still in the hospital.