Camdenton man hailed as hero for helping boat explosion victims

A charred vessel sits tied up on a dock. The boat exploded Sunday at the Pier 31 gas pumps in Camdenton. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)

Grant Leighty was the first person in the water after a boat exploded at the Lake of the Ozarks Sunday.

"We hear this big boom sounding like a cannon going off and I heard my wife scream 'oh my god'," said Leighty.

He and his wife were cleaning their boat when less than 100 feet away, a vessel filling up at the Pier 31 gas pumps exploded into flames.

"It was a horrific sight," said the Camdenton High School wrestling coach.

"The gentleman was struggling and everyone was telling him to jump in the water because he was on fire."

Leighty said by the time he reached the burning boat, both a man and a woman aboard made it into the water on their own. But they were badly injured.

"As I was able to get a hold of him, she was kind of on the way so I grabbed her too and got them to the dock."

Leighty said he's a believer in fate. Waiting on the dock were an off-duty nurse and a paramedic.

They tended to the victims until they could be airlifted to the hospital.

The lake area native said adrenaline and instinct just kick in.

"You don't think about that stuff," said Leighty.

"You just see somebody in peril and you want to help."

"I've had a lot of people throw the word 'hero' around but I don't believe I'm a hero. I believe I'm a person that tried to help somebody else."

Highway Patrol said Ronald Moore, 76, of Nevada, Missouri, and Susan Abele-Burns, 58, of El Dorado Springs, Missouri, were taken to University Hospital.

Moore died late Sunday evening.

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