Sailor praises help from Wrightsville Beach after explosion delays global journey

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In a flash, Timothy Wilkinson’s dream of circumnavigating the globe was put on hold. But thanks to the generosity of the Wrightsville Beach community, that dream still lives, as the sailor whose boat was damaged in a February explosion said in the month since the accident, he’s been overwhelmed by support he’s received.

“It kind of blew me away,” Wilkinsons said of the aftermath of the explosion. “A lot of these strangers, these community folks, they took care of me. They took me in and nursed me back to health.”

A propane explosion on his 33-foot sailboat on Feb. 13 not only caused extensive damage to the boat, it also sent him to the hospital with second-degree burns. The explosion burned Wilkinson’s hands, feet, lower legs and face, which suffered second degree burns. He said he’s been proactive about his treatment. While the skin has begun to heal, Wilkinson’s attention has now turned his attention to repairing the boat.

“I’m all  healed up, it’s been about a month now, but the boat isn’t healing as fast,” he said.

Wilkinson said the explosion occurred after a propane leak that happened after a faulty repair on a copper propane line began to leak. Smelling the propane, Wilkinson said he opened the cabin door to try to air it out, which in turn added oxygen to the mix, causing the explosion when it made contact with an oil lamp.

“It tore the top off, it tore the walls off, it mangled the boat,” he said.

But since then, Wilkinson said the response from Wrightsville Beach has been overwhelming. He said both boaters and locals have offered their support. One boater, Adam Crider, was the first to arrive after the explosion, but several other neighboring boaters also came in with support in the minutes, hours and days afterwards.

Wilkinson said one thing he still does need is a dock he can tie the boat up to in order to make repairs.

Those interested in helping Wilkinson can do so through his Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/explosion-ends-circumnavigation.

Email terrylane@luminanews.com

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