Four people are missing and presumed dead and nine others have been injured including two critically, after a head-on boat accident on the Colorado River along the California-Arizona border the night of Sept. 1. According to a report on USA Today, the recreational boats, one carrying 10 people and another with six on board, collided in Moabi Regional Park in the dark on the river that was crowded with boaters on the busy Labor Day weekend.
Each boat had a mix of family and friends who were from out of the area. Officials said no one on the boats was wearing a life vest. One person sustained life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas. The crash was so violent that one of the boats sank and another sustained major damage, officials said. Some on board were thrown into the river while other jumped. Where the crash occurred, the water ranged in depth from very shallow to 30 feet, officials said.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of this horrific boat accident and their families. We wish the injured victims the very best for a quick and full recovery and offer our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones.
Southern California Boating Accidents
According to the California Division of Boating and Waterways, there were 322 boating accidents in Southern California in 2016, which resulted in 116 injuries and 14 deaths. These accidents represented 55 percent of all accidents statewide, 44 percent of injuries and 28 percent of fatalities. During that same year, there were 27 boating accidents that resulted in 24 injuries on the Colorado River.
Based on this news report, it appears that the boats violently collided head-on. Officials also say none of the people on board were wearing life jackets. This incident is reminiscent of the tragic duck boat accident July 19 on Table Rock Lake in Missouri, where 17 of 31 passengers died when the boat capsized. In that case, the state’s Attorney General has filed a complaint against the owner and operator alleging that they ignored safety protocols including life jacket requirements and weather warnings, as the boat sank in the lake during severe weather.
In this Southern California case as well, it is important to look into who the boat’s operator was and what safety protocols were violated. Life jackets in particular are the most important pieces of equipment on a boat. More than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents and 90 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
We also trust officials are looking into whether impaired or reckless boat operation caused this tragic collision. In such cases, injured victims and family members of the deceased individuals may be able to seek compensation for their injuries, damages and losses. An experienced California boat accident lawyer may be able help them better understand their legal rights and options.