Two fatal boat accidents over the weekend are just the latest in a string of deadly incidents on the water this summer.
On Saturday, a 30-year-old woman from Hemet, California, was killed when the boat she was riding in sank in the Colorado River near Big River, a town near Parker. The next night, a man was killed when two boats crashed in Lake Havasu.
The two accidents follow several water-related deaths on the lake in recent weeks. The increase in fatal incidents on Lake Havasu caught the attention of Lake Havasu Marine Association President Jim Salscheider, who on Monday said he planned to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to maintain boater safety. Salscheider said the details of that collaboration would be revealed in future weeks.
“We’ve been talking behind the scenes with law enforcement agencies to see what to do to make the lake safer,” said Lake Havasu Marine Association President Jim Salscheider. “Something needs to be done. There’s definitely been an increase in boat traffic, and we need a new marina — that’s in the works for next summer, and it will really cut down on traffic. But sometimes people come here who are just not knowledgeable about boating law.”
Sunday’s crash was reported around 9:30 p.m., according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The accident occurred between Havasu Landing and Lake Havasu State Park when a 25-foot Carrera deck boat, carrying a driver and three passengers, was struck by a 28-foot Eliminator watercraft, carrying three passengers. The Eliminator was traveling northbound without its lights on and struck the Carrera’s broad side at about 40 miles per hour according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Cpl. Jeffrey Cross. All passengers ejected into the water, and a passenger from the Carrera helped everyone back into the boats. The driver of the Eliminator was pronounced dead at the scene when emergency responders arrived, Cross aid.
Three of the accident’s victims required medical treatment at Havasu Regional Medical Center, while a fourth victim required medical air-transport to a Las Vegas hospital, Cross said. Alcohol is believed to have been the cause, Cross said.
Sunday’s accident follows close on the heels of another accident in Big River Park, within the Parker area. At about 6:30 p.m., according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, a vessel launched from Big River Park for a tubing excursion, but the boat’s motor failed and the vessel began to take on water.
As the boat sank, six passengers managed to swim away, but a seventh was unable to free herself from a length of rope, and was pulled beneath the surface. The victim and vessel were only recovered Sunday morning.
Increase in incidents
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Department has reported three fatalities on the lake this year, including a July 22 double-drowning near the launch ramp of Crazy Horse Campgrounds.
Also on July 22, a jet boat collided with a pontoon boat near Havasu’s sandbar, resulting in one severe injury and multiple minor injuries.
On July 4, a San Bernardino firefighter died while attempting to extricate a boating anchor from the river bottom in Parker; and on June 11, another victim was dislodged from a capsized watercraft when its operator took a sharp turn at high speed. While the driver died from apparent cardiac arrest at the scene, the dislodged victim was only found the following day, 40 feet beneath the surface.
On May 19, a personal watercraft pilot sustained severe head injuries when he fell into the water, and was struck by another personal watercraft operated by a friend.
This month, the remains of a woman presumed to have been missing since April were recovered from Ranger Point at Lake Havasu State Park.