Three people airlifted to a burn center in Phoenix after an explosion rocked their boat on Lake Pleasant.
Peoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Pendley says five adults launched the boat at the lake north of Phoenix Sunday morning and were motoring out of the ramp area when the explosion happened.
Two women and a man suffered second-degree flash burns and injuries from flying debris. Nearby boaters helped them back to the dock and called for help. One woman later underwent surgery after the engine's dip stick went right through her arm.
"We just saw pieces flying all over the place and we just saw a guy jump into the water..everybody rushing to try to get them try to save them," said Heber Arechiga, who thought a cannon went off in the water.
Russ Herman, who was on the other side of the boat launch, knew something terrible happened when he heard the explosion.
"Parts went flying about as high as the horizon line on the mountains and it looked like something out of a movie."
Pendley says the burns were serious but did not appear life-threatening. They were flown to the burn center at Maricopa Medical Center for treatment and they're expected to survive.
One of the other two boaters had minor injuries and the second was unhurt.
The explosion was apparently caused by fuel vapors accumulating in the engine compartment.
Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies took pieces of the boat into evidence as the investigation is ongoing.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.