ONE of the two crewman injured by an explosion on board the survey vessel MTS Xplorer yesterday afternoon was so badly hurt that at one point it was feared that he would have to have one of his legs amputated.

Falmouth Packet:

Peter Haskins, pictured, who lives near Mawnan Smith, was near dive bottles inside the survey vessel owned by Falmouth Divers Ltd based on Commercial Road, Penryn when one exploded.

Shrapnel from the explosion caused serious injuries to his leg, face and hand. He was airlifted by coastguard helicopter team to Derriford Hospital along with another injured crewman.

It is understood that surgeons managed to save his leg which had an open fracture. He also suffered broken ribs, shrapnel injuries to his face and a badly mangled hand.

Mr Haskins has a partner and young son.

Extensive damage was caused to the inside of the boat by the oxygen cylinder exploding which also set off a dry powder cylinder which filled the cabin with powder.

Another crewman was Alistair Miller, was not injured in the explosion.

A spokesman for the coastguard said Falmouth’s all-weather lifeboat was launched just after 1pm yesterday afternoon and arrived swiftly on scene.

Two of the three people onboard had been injured and the lifeboat and the Coastguard helicopter teams helped evacuate the casualties to Derriford Hospital.

Fowey’s all-weather lifeboat was launched at 1.48pm to help in the multi-agency rescue. The volunteer crew then towed the vessel towards Falmouth.

Falmouth Packet:

Picture: The Xplorer in Falmouth Docks. Picture David Barnicoat

Falmouth Lifeboat brought Alistair Miller safely back to shore, returning to the station at 3.41pm.

Falmouth Packet:

Picture: The Xplorer moored near Falmouth lifeboat. Picture: David Barnicoat

Area Lifesaving Manager for South Cornwall James Millidge said: 'This is a great example of joint working between Fowey and Falmouth RNLI lifeboat crews and the other agencies involved, including the Coastguard helicopter.

"RNLI crews were on the scene quickly to provide immediate first aid support to those on board the vessel and help in their evacuation to hospital.

"This incident highlights how important it is when going out to sea to carry a means of calling for help because this particular vessel, after the explosion, was able to raise the alarm very quickly. As a result they were able to get the help and assistance they required in order to get the best outcome for those on board."

The MTS Xplorer is a survey vessel that belonged to a company called MTS. The boats owned by MTS were recently sold to Falmouth Divers who were in the process of getting the MT moniker changed. It is understood that the cews of the vessels were taken on by Falmouth Divers to save them from being made redundant.

Falmouth Divers said they would not be commenting until the picture was clearer.

The cause of the accident will now be investigated