Gaston & Catawba

Boat explosion probe continues

Investigators will convene at Westport Marina Monday and Tuesday to continue their investigation into a boat explosion that killed a 19-year old Denver man in June.

Nathan Coppick was killed June 10 while refueling the Championship II charter at the marina on Lake Norman.

Investigators have said that the explosion was caused by a spark that ignited the fuel, but have said they have not been able to determine whether the spark came from the boat or from the dock.

Lincoln County Fire Marshal Mike Futrell said he hoped to learn more from this week's meeting. He said several state and federal agencies are expected to convene on the marina. They also will investigate the boat's remains, which are in storage in Mooresville, Futrell said.

“We really won't know more until we all get together this week,” he said. “We are trying to pinpoint the cause of it.”

Futrell and other investigators already have conducted interviews with survivors and witnesses and watched surveillance video.

Investigators have said it appeared that Coppick, a crew member on the boat and who also worked at the marina, and boat owner Cliff Champion followed proper procedures when refueling. Champion was not injured.