A teenager is dead and another injured after being struck by a boat while they were swimming in Table Rock Lake over the weekend.
A pontoon boat driver, 62-year-old Christopher Johnson, struck the swimmers before striking a rock bluff after 4 p. m. July 10. Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike McClure told the News-Leader the parties involved knew each other.
A 15-year-old girl, from O’Fallon, was killed and a 16-year-old Ballwin boy had minor injuries. Neither were wearing life jackets. Johnson, also from O’Fallon, was also not wearing a life jacket while operating the rental pontoon.
“It’s caused a traumatic, tragic event, ” McClure said.
McClure said the particular incident happened at what’s known as Breezy Point, the rock outcropping where people usually boat near and climb before jumping into the water. It’s also referred to as Battleship Point and across through the State Park Marina.
Early reports stated the driver was detained on suspicion for boating whilst intoxicated; however, McClure said investigators determined he was not.
Initial reports furthermore alleged that a pontoon boat “ran through a group of people, ” he added. That wasn’t the case.
A reconstructionist team was dispatched Monday morning to start piecing together what happened, McClure stated.
“The water is a completely different environment than having pavement where you can have skids plus gouges and marks and debris, ” McClure mentioned. “Water is not that case. It’s a very specialized and imperfect thing. inch
Boating safety is a key to enjoying outdoor recreation
This is the particular fourth boating fatality for Troop D and serves as a reminder.
“This is the good example when a person rent a boat will be make sure that your confidence in operating that doesn’t outrun your competence, ” McClure said. “If you’re not really an avid and experienced boater, then be honest with yourself and give yourself plenty of space, plenty of time as you’re learning how in order to operate a boat, especially with passengers and other people around you. ”
If born prior to January 1, 1984, a boating license is not required to operate a water vessel in the state of Missouri. However, McClure said he encourages all ages in order to take boaters education courses.
Visit Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website to learn more about water safety.
Sara Karnes is an Outdoors Reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow along with her adventures upon Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email her in [email protected] gannett. com.