A Utah family is counting their blessings after surviving a terrifying houseboat fire at Lake Powell on Thursday.
The harrowing incident occurred around noon, just 45 minutes after the Tolman family of 25 had boarded the rental houseboat for a fun day on the lake. The outing took a nightmarish turn when a loud explosion rocked the boat – the motor had suddenly caught fire.
“We heard a big boom! Not knowing what it was, we went to investigate. We found the motor on the houseboat had exploded, and caught on fire,” said Maddy Tolman. “It was about five-to-10 minutes between the explosion and when the boat was engulfed in flames.”
Chaos erupted as the passengers scrambled to escape the burning vessel. All 25 people – including a mother with her 2-month-old baby, toddlers, an 8-year-old diabetic child, and other elementary-aged kids – jumped into the water. Some managed to grab lifejackets in the rush, while others weren’t so fortunate.
Thankfully, nearby boats witnessed the explosion and raced to assist. Good Samaritans pulled the frightened family from the water to safety.
“We had about 25 people on board, including a 2-month-old, two toddlers, an 8-year-old diabetic, and three more elementary-aged kids on board. We quickly jumped out of the boat and swam to safety on a few boats that had stopped to rescue us,” Tolman recalled.
Incredibly, no injuries were reported in the harrowing incident.
“Luckily, no one was hospitalized. No one walked away with any injuries. We’re grateful to be alive and grateful for those who saved our loved ones by stopping to scoop us out of the water,” said a relieved Tolman.
Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which oversees Lake Powell, has not commented publicly at the time of this writing.
For now, the Tolman family is simply thankful to have survived this near-tragedy on the lake.
Cover photo images courtesy of: Maddy Ferry