Tragedy struck Wilson Lake this week when a barge collided with a pontoon boat. Eight people were on board the pontoon, enjoying a sunny day on the water. Barge crew members quickly rescued six of the eight people who had been on board the pontoon, but two were missing. Rescue workers later found the body of one woman in the water, but it took several days for them to find the body of the 62-year-old male victim. The six originally rescued by the barge workers were taken to the hospital with injuries. Both the Coast Guard and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Marine Patrol Division are investigating this accident.
Given the late hour of this crash – reports indicate it happened on a Saturday night – one has to wonder if poor visibility had something to do with this collision. It’s also possible that the fun-filled atmosphere of a pontoon boat might have encouraged drinking while boating. This combination of factors can lead to easy mistakes. It’s also possible that some kind of mechanical problem prevented the pontoon or barge from stopping or moving out of the path of the other vessel. As the investigation continues, we will have a better understanding of how this accident could have occurred.
This was supposed to be a fun evening on the lake, but instead ended tragically. Boating accidents like this one can be deceptive, because they seem so unlikely to occur when people are out on the water having fun. Unfortunately, danger can strike when we least expect it, so it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Always wear a life jacket on board, even if you can swim. Too often, people are thrown overboard during collisions and cannot tread water long enough to be rescued. Even the best swimmers can become tired quickly, especially if there are currents to fight against. Avoid alcohol if you’re doing the navigating or the steering, and have a fellow boater be on the lookout for obstacles on the horizon. Another set of eyes can never hurt while on the water.
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The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC has helped accident victims and their families for over 29 years. If you’d like to speak with us about your situation, contact us to setup a free consultation.