PHOENIX, AZ - Jonathan Rivera won't be joining his fellow seniors at Cesar Chavez High School when they begin class next week.
Doctors say he'll instead spend the next 10 days in a hospital bed while he recovers from injuries suffered in an explosion.
"I'm burned on both my legs, my hair is singed, my eyebrows were scorched off but, hey, I'm kicking," Rivera said.
As he has many times before, Rivera went out boating Monday with some friends on Lake Pleasant.
However, for reasons that remain unknown, the boat exploded which knocked Rivera unconscious.
"It was really painful," Rivera said. "My neck hurts. I guess that's where I hit something and was knocked out."
The explosion started a fire which began to burn Rivera's legs as he lay unconscious.
Another person on the boat picked Rivera up and threw him in the lake where he regained consciousness.
Paramedics waiting on shore loaded Rivera into a helicopter and flew him to the burn unit at the Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix.
"Jonathan's a heck of a kid," said Dr. Sydney Vail with the Maricopa Medical Center. "He survived something that could have been a whole lot worse. He got really lucky."
Rivera considers himself fortunate as well.
Doctors say that positive attitude will serve him well as he starts down the long road to recovery.
"I feel lucky," Rivera said. "My main concern is my friends. If I could have had it any other way I wouldn't. I would have preferred me to take the brunt of the explosion. I wouldn't want them to be hurt."
The exact cause of the explosion remains under investigation but Rivera suspects a fuel leak may be to blame.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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