KOKI-TV reported that two University of Arkansas students were killed in a boat collision on the Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma on May 14. Preliminary reports from the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Police indicated that a 22-foot boat carrying multiple passengers collided with a 100-foot docked house boat. Rachel Swetnam and William “Trey” Varner were passengers in the front of the boat and died after the moving boat crashed. Four other passengers in the boat were transported to Craig General Hospital. Investigators told KOKI that with Memorial Day on the horizon, the likelihood of additional crashes is increasing.
“We do want to stress certainly safe boating,” GRDA Communications Director Justin Alberty told KIKO. “It’s early in the boating season, so people are just getting back in the water, getting familiar again with their surroundings, the topography of the lake, so it is a good remember just to be careful.”
Investigators told KOKI that alcohol and speed were some of the contributing factors in this fatal crash. The accident also occurred just days before the start of the National Safe Boating Council’s 2013 National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24. The annual campaign helps raise awareness of safe and responsible boating all across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that one recommendation from the US Coast Guard is to take a boating education course, as more than seven out of every 10 boating incidents is caused by operator error.
We will continue to discuss tips throughout National Safe Boating Week to help boaters have a safe summer on the water, and you can find additional information about recreational boating accidents by visiting our website. The Jones Act attorneys at Latti & Anderson LLP represent individuals and families involved in boating accidents all over the country. If you or your loved one sustained serious injuries in a boating accident, you can use the form on this page to have our Boston maritime attorneys review your case or you can contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to schedule a free consultation.
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