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Yacht Explosion Off New Jersey Coast

Eric Pearle/Getty Images(SANDY HOOK, N.J.) -- The Coast Guard is responding to a reported yacht explosion in the Atlantic Ocean about 17.5 miles east of Sandy Hook, N.J., where at least nine passengers have been injured.

The Coast Guard has declared a mass casualty incident and has requested multiple helicopters to assist with rescue.

Nine people have been reported to have second and third degree burns, and 21 people were on board.

The Coast Guard was notified at 4:20 p.m. of an explosion on board the yacht, the Blind Date, according to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV. Passengers reported that they had suffered "some kind of explosion on the boat," according to the United States Coast Guard. Authorities do not know the cause or scale of the explosion.

All of the boat's passengers were forced to abandon ship and are in life rafts. All of the passengers have been accounted for.

A private boat, the Erica, was nearby and is on-scene helping the victims while they wait for the Coast Guard to arrive. Two New York Police Department helicopters have responded to the scene. Two medevac landing zones are being set up on Sandy Hook and nearby Atlantic Highlands for ambulances to meet.

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