Crews responding to Loudon County boat fire

Photo courtesy of the TWRA
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LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Crews responded to a boat on fire near the Poplar Springs Boat Ramp in Loudon County.

911 dispatch said the call came in at 1:19 p.m. Tuesday. The Tellico Fire Department worked the call.

A team from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also responded to the scene. According to the TWRA, the operator was attempting to start the craft when an explosion happened and sent the man several feet into the air before he landed in the water.

The personal watercraft (PWC) caught fire, burned to the waterline and sank. The operator was wearing a life jacket, and he stayed afloat until his wife and several bystanders helped him to the dock, where he was treated by emergency medical services and transported to a local hospital.

The TWRA issued a reminder to make sure people remove the seat on a PWC and check for fuel leaks before attempting to start the engine. If you smell gasoline, remove the PWC from the water and have it inspected by a certified marine technician. If you're operating a boat with an inboard engine, make sure to turn on the blower system to remove any escaped fuel vapors before you start the engine.