Ski Boat Wreck Probed

Morgantown Dominion Post
27 May 2015
By Alex Lang

An investigation continues into a Monday night boating accident in which 12 people were injured.

None of their conditions were known Tuesday. There names have not been released.

According to Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Spokesman Hoy Murphy, the 12 were aboard a 23-foot Malibu Wakesetter, a ski boat, when it struck a steep embankment and went onto the shore.

The boat seats 15 people. There were 12 young adults onboard, according to Murphy. Investigators haven’t determined what caused the wreck.

The accident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. as the boat was traveling north in Cheat Lake, near Sunset Beach Marina.

Their injuries varied. Three people were taken by medical helicopter to Ruby Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Cheat Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jason Christopher said those three were alert and conscious when loaded aboard the HeathNet helicopter. Two others were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Christopher described seven other occupants of the boat as “walking wounded.”

The injuries included cuts and bruises. Some needed stitches, Christopher said.

Eventually all 12 were taken to hospitals for treatment, according to Murphy.

Christopher said none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

The conditions of the injured were unknown, according to Murphy, who did confirm there were no fatalities.

Fire crews, DNR officials, Monongalia County sheriff’s deputies and other local boaters helped remove the victims from the scene to an area where they could be treated, according to Murphy.

Christopher said they didn’t smell alcohol on any of the 12. He also said there is typically enough light on the lake at that time of night to see by.

There were initial reports that someone was impaled, but Christopher said that wasn’t the case when they arrived. The boat’s driver had a large cut, so he could have been struck and then the item that struck him fell out or was removed, Christopher said.

The investigation continues into the incident. Murphy didn’t know if the people involved were wearing life jackets, if the driver was licensed or if the boat had lights.

State regulations do not require boaters over the age of 12 to wear life preservers. They do require that there be one for each person on the boat.

State regulations also require boat operators to obtain a safety license and complete an educational program. The program includes boating terms, regulations and how to respond to an emergency situations.

The boat was still resting against the steep bank Tuesday afternoon as investigators tended to the scene.