A misadventure on a Seattle, Washington, hot tub boat ended in a 911 call.
The incident occurred in January when a group of friends rented a Lake Union Hot Tub Boat to cruise the lake.
According to the friends, the trip was chaotic. It began with an electrical burning smell, then smoke, and eventually an explosion.
“Just a boom,” said Scott Smith. “A ball of fire went through the thing. The boat lifted out of the water, and when it came back down, half the water from the hot tub was gone, and the lake was coming in.”
Smith suffered a concussion and a fractured wrist.
His fiancée, April Hunziker, had bruises along her legs along and a sprained ankle. She also suffered a concussion.
According to the passengers, the boat didn’t have enough life jackets on board. They say when they called Lake Union Hot Tub Boats throughout their ordeal, their calls for help went to the company’s voicemail.
The incident occurred in the evening, and at the time of their 911 call, they said it was pitch black and the water was freezing. Smith said that if they had panicked and attempted to swim to shore, they may not have made it if their bodies reacted negatively to the cold.
The Seattle Fire Department was
Photo Credit: lakeunionhottubboats.com called to help, but a bystander had already begun to tow the boat to shore. The friends had been taken aboard.
The boat that rescued them turned out to belong to Hot Tub Boats, another company that rents boats out to Lake Union visitors.
The company provided them with blankets and towed them back to shore.
Details concerning the specifics of the incident were conflicting.
An email sent by Lake Union Hot Tub Boats made a point of indicating the group had been drinking.
“They returned to the dock safely and everyone was happy, with no reported issues when they left for the night,” the company wrote. “The group told our staff that they were heading out to the bars to continue drinking. They had been drinking throughout the experience.”
The company also said that the boat didn’t sink.
Smith said that although he and others were drinking on the boat, the driver was not.
“It’s not a hot tub full of crazy, irresponsible people,” Smith said. “It’s Sunday. We have to be at work at 7 a.m. It’s like they were trying to convince us it was nothing. I think that’s dangerous, it’s dangerous because it is something.”
The full statement from Lake Union Hot Tub Boats reads: “We pride ourselves on having the best customer service and safest experience possible. We got a call last night from a group out on the lake. We went out to assist and they got towed back in because they ended up having motor trouble. They returned to the dock safely and everyone was happy with no reported issues when they left for the night.
The group told our staff that they were heading out to the bars to continue drinking. They had been drinking throughout the experience. All standard procedures were followed. Harbor patrol was called by the group but no help was needed. We always have a tow boat available for added safety. All boats are checked for any safety issues before each and every rental.”
Photo Credit: lakeunionhottubboats.com