Old 01-04-2011, 08:25 AM
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Location: Narragansett, RI / Marco Island, Florida
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Default Boat Explosion during Fueling in Delray Beach, FL

State officials resumed their search early Tuesday for a man who went missing aboard a boat that exploded Monday afternoon at the Delray Harbor Marina.

Investigators with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived around sunrise to continue looking for Robert Romanelli, 67, or Orange Park, authorities said. He was last seen on the bottom deck of the 32-foot Quarterdeck boat.

The fiberglass boat exploded and burst into flames shortly after 4:30 p.m. while it was being refueled on the water near the 1000 block of South Federal Highway, said Lt. Ed Beardsley of Delray Beach Fire-Rescue.

Two men working on the top deck suffered burn injuries and were taken to Delray Medical Center with injuries that are not life threatening. One is Romanelli's brother, Paul Romanelli, 70, of East Hartford, Conn., and the other is the boat's owner, William Ryan, 74, of Highland Beach, according to the Gabriella Ferraro, spokeswoman for the state's wildlife commission.Firefighters, with help from a boater, were able to quickly pull the boat away from the fueling area and other vessels while other crews shut down the fuel supply. The blaze sent dark clouds of smoke across the sky.The charred boat will be guarded by Delray Beach police at the scene until it can be moved for further investigation by Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission and the state Fire Marshal.

Witness Andrew Masi, 18, said he was on his way home when he saw the fire.

"We saw humongous clouds of smoke and it looked like one of our neighbor's houses was on fire," Masi said. "A boat was engulfed in flames."

The search for Robert Romanelli had been suspended Monday night.
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