Father, son recovering after explosion on towboat

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. – A local man is back at home after being injured in a deadly explosion.

The explosion happened Friday morning on a towboat docked in Marshall County. Three people died, six others were injured.

A flash of white light is the last thing Tyler Wedeking remembers before everything went dark. He was working on the upper deck of the towboat with Jimmy Lang and James Lang when he says they were hit by an explosion from the deck below.

Jimmy’s brother, Willie Lang, says after the blast, Tyler risked his life to save Jimmy and James.

“The explosion threw him and his dad all the way across the room,” says Willie. “Jimmy was pinned under some scaffolding or some kind of a metal frame. Then Tyler went in and pulled Jimmy out and then went in and pulled James out.”

Tyler was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was treated for second and third degree burns on his face. Doctors released him later that night.

Willie says his nephew, James, suffered severe burns all over his hands and face, and a broken foot. He’s currently at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

James’ dad, Jimmy, is in stable condition at Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. Willie says he has several broken bones and internal injuries. He’s now hooked up to a ventilator.

“He’s tied down, cant breath, can’t talk,” says Willie. “And James, they said he was kind of frustrated this morning too because when he woke up he couldn’t see.”

Willie says James’ eyes are swollen shut.

“I mean, he’s got a long road ahead of him,” says Willie. “Not as much as his daddy, but he’s got a long road ahead of him.”

With support from family and friends, Willie says his family is going to make it through this.

Timothy Wright, 52, of Calvert City was killed in the explosion, along with Jerome Smith and Quentin Stewart of Louisiana.

A spokesperson with Kentucky State Police says Javier Fuenes, Wilson Madrid, and Billy Counts were among those injured in the blast.

First Marine owns the land where the towboat, William E. Strait, was docked when the explosion happened. Smithland Towing owns the vessel.

Investigators say there’s no indication of foul play. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

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