Two ships are seen in port at the pier at Naval Weapons Station Earle in this 2000 file photo. (NJ PRESS MEDIA)
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An explosion during boat maintenance at a New Jersey naval base injured eight sailors and civilian employees Tuesday morning, one of them seriously. As of the evening, however, only one sailor remained hospitalized, the Navy reported.
The blast happened at the Earle Naval Weapons Station in Middletown at around 9 a.m. and was confined to a boathouse where routine maintenance was being done on a 27-foot aluminum utility boat, Navy spokeswoman Beth Baker said.
The hospitalized sailor underwent surgery for a broken arm.
“He was conscious and speaking” before being taken to a hospital, Baker said.
Seven other sailors and civilian employees sustained minor injuries, mostly smoke inhalation. The Navy was withholding their names until relatives could be notified.
There was no immediate word on what caused the explosion, and an investigation was underway. No ammunition was involved, Baker said.
The station provides ammunition and explosives for Navy vessels.