Injured boaters will survive accident - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Injured boaters will survive accident

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May 20, 2008

Lake Seminole-- The boat is still parked in the trees at the horrific site of Saturday's accident. Experienced Department of Natural Resource officers say they've never seen anything like it.  "I've been working 19 years down here and this is the worst boat accident I've worked. . . for nobody to have gotten killed," said DNR Corporal Terri Jones.

Jones said they still don't know exactly what happened to make this fish and ski boat crash in the Turkey Pond Drain area of Lake Seminole. "They were coming from the channel, and apparently lost control for some reason or another and it went up into trees, the boat did."  One tree nearly split the boat in half.  "If anybody had been sitting in the bow, they wouldn't be here today."

Amazingly, everyone survived.  Three people were treated and released from the hospital but 2 people were air lifted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and another is still in the hospital in Dothan, Alabama.   "One of them had to have surgery. The other one, his face he had to have reconstruction on his face but he's going to be ok, and the one that had surgery is going to be ok now. We're expecting everybody to make it," said Jones.  DNR says a reconstruction of the scene will be done in the investigaton into the matter.

With memorial day weekend just around the corner, more boaters are expected to be out on the lake.  DNR officers say elements of Lake Seminole can be extremely dangerous even for experienced boaters and especially for those who are unfamiliar with the lake.

"This lake can be an extremely dangerous lake because one: it is very shallow.  Two: its very stumpy. If you do not follow the channels you have a very good possibility of running into a stump which happens," said Bryan Gray, Seminole State Park Manager.

DNR officers don't want to see another accident and urge all boaters to make safety their top priority.  "You always want to try to learn from, whether you call it a mistake, or the misfortune of others, you want to try to learn the best you can from every incident," said Gray.

Jones added, "If you're going to drink on the water, there is no open container law but have a designated driver if you're out here on the waters."

DNR officers still have not released the names of anyone on the boat. They say they are trying to get a subpoena from the district attorney so the hospitals will release the patients' names.

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