Before a day on the lake, Christina Parker bet her father $100 the family’s troublesome jet ski wouldn’t start.
They had bought the jet ski at the start of the summer, and had taken it out twice before, Parker told The Star over a Facebook message.
The first time, the engine overheated and it flipped, she said. During the second time around, the display screen “blew out,” she said, and they ran out of gas.
The jet ski — a 2002 Polaris watercraft — “was totally cursed,” Parker wrote.
Then July 8 rolled around. Parker and her father, Steve Parker, tried taking the jet ski out again at the Lake of the Ozarks near Rocky Mount, Missouri.
“My dad and I were launching our PWC at Coffman Beach — he was in the car backing up the trailer and I was on the PWC,” Parker told friends and family on Facebook. “As soon as I hit the start button on the PWC it exploded. I was thrown decently far and my dad found me face down in the water unconscious. I don’t remember the explosion but I do remember my dad bringing me out of the water and the very hot fire.”
Parker was wearing a life jacket, according to an incident report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
A nurse, who happened to be on the boat ramp, later told Parker in her hospital bed that the explosion threw her about 30 feet into the air.
The 20-year-old college student told a local television station she doesn’t remember much after her father pulled her out of the water to safety.
“When I pulled her up from being face down, her face was covered in blood, but she did say, ‘What happened?’” Steve Parker told KRCG.
At first, her father took her to urgent care in Eldon. Then Parker was taken to Lake Regional Hospital by ambulance. From there, she was transferred to University Hospital in Columbia, where she remained until July 14.
Now, Parker says she feels thankful it didn’t turn out worse, and she continues to recover from home. Her spine was fractured in three places, and her nose was also fractured due to the blast. By Tuesday, Parker said she was feeling “pretty good” despite her injuries.
“I have a follow up appointment Friday where they are going to review my healing so far in the brace to see if I will need surgery on my back or if I will be able to continue just with the brace,” she said. “Unfortunately with my ribs and my nose they can’t do anything about those.”
As for the jet ski, it “burned and sank,” and was later towed, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The report notes a “mechanical failure caused it to explode.” Parker said her family later determined it had a gas leak, “which combined with a few other optimal conditions,” led to the explosion.
As for the bet?
Parker said her father held up his end of the deal, and shared a photo of him handing her a $100 bill.
“The reason my dad and I took it out this third time was because he was trying to prove to me that the jet ski was fine and I was just being dramatic,” she wrote. “I actually bet him $100 that it wouldn’t start (which he later paid me because I was right — it didn’t start, it exploded).”