A BOAT carrying a family of four has exploded off the NSW Central Coast.
Police said the 6.7 metre vessel departed from Patonga Wharf shortly after midday and had travelled only 700m when the explosion occurred.
A 34-year-old woman suffered serious burns to her arms, legs and torso. Her 35-year-old husband and eight-year-old son also suffered burns to their arms and legs.
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A second boy, aged seven, escaped serious burns, however, was left suffering from severe shock after being hit by the blast and witnessing the horrific events.
The family was forced to jump overboard and were rescued by a passing boatie who ferried them to shore where they were assisted by members of the public before paramedics arrived.
The woman has since been airlifted to Westmead Hospital in a serious condition, while the man and two children were transported to Westmead Hospital by ambulance.
The Marine Area Command has seized the boat and will examine it as they investigate the cause of the explosion.
They are asking anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to police to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.