Two people were injured after their personal watercraft caught fire Thursday afternoon at Lake Mitchell.
Mitchell Fire Marshal Shannon Sandoval said the fire started at about 2:15 p.m. on Independence Day at the Indian Village boat ramp at Lake Mitchell, located on the south side of the lake. A father and daughter were intending to ride the Sea Doo model watercraft out of the cove between the Sportsman's Club camp area and the Indian Village boat ramp.
The adult male reported that the watercraft was difficult to start and the daughter was pushing when the Sea Doo caught fire.
"The front end, it just blew up on them," Sandoval said.
The girl reported a sore shoulder and torso area, and was taken via ambulance to Avera Queen of Peace hospital. The adult male refused ambulance care, but was going to be checked by medical staff, Sandoval said.
Mitchell Department of Public Safety personnel helped bring the charred remains of the Sea Doo back to shore once the fire was put out. At the time of the fire, heavy flames and large plumes of smoke could be seen from the watercraft, before Mitchell Fire Division firefighters put out the blaze.
No citations are expected, said South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Officer Andy Petersen.
Petersen said fires like what occurred Thursday are increasingly rare, given the technological advances of watercraft and how they are built. Sandoval said the event was a personal first.
"In my five years working here in Mitchell, that's the first time I've been called out to the lake for a boat fire," he said.