Praise for Spirit staff after gas bottle explosion


A GAS bottle exploded inside a campervan on the Spirit of Tasmania on Wednesday night, damaging four vehicles.

Launceston performer Freddie Todman was travelling on the Spirit at the time, crossing from Devonport to Melbourne, when the explosion occurred about 8.43pm.

"We heard a very, very loud bang - I wouldn't have described it as an explosion at the time, but it was a very large bang," he said.

"I thought that we'd hit something."

It wasn't until passengers were called to return to their vehicles in the morning Mr Todman realised what had happened.

"The vehicle in front of us was OK, but there was a lot of broken glass on the floor," he said.

"I glanced further forward (to the next vehicle), it looked like a Coaster motorhome.

"All the glass had been blown to smithereens ... the back door panel had been blown onto the bull bar of the vehicle in front of us. We sustained a badly cracked windscreen.

"The one that exploded looked like it had been blown inside out, the panels were blown out ... it was crazy."

Mr Todman said the ship's staff had been "fantastic", helping them to fill out accident reports and assuring them the damage would be covered by the Spirit's insurance.

Mr Todman said gas bottles on all motorhomes had to be secured before departure, but said the exploding campervan may have had a slow leak from its gas bottle, exploding when the gas came into contact with the fridge's pilot light.

Spirit of Tasmania communications manager Soniya Fernandez said the incident had not resulted in injuries, fire or damage to the vessel.

"Four vehicles received minor damage, but were able to be driven off when Spirit of Tasmania I arrived in Melbourne," she said.

An investigation into the incident was under way, Ms Fernandez said.


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