A boat operator has been arrested after 10 people were left injured after they were thrown from a motor boat on Lake Gage. The boat continued, unmanned, at high speed, causing further injuries to those in the water
An out-of-control motor boat on Lake Gage in Indiana has left 10 people needing hospital treatment, some with “serious” or “near fatal” injuries.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said that the 20-year-old operator of the Correct Craft Ski Nautique motor boat, Dominique Effinger, has been arrested for allegedly boating while intoxicated causing injury and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
“Initial information from investigating Conservation Officers shows that Dominique Effinger, age 20 of Ft. Wayne, was operating a 21 ft. Correct Craft Ski Nautique on Lake Gage at a high rate of speed when the boat cut into a violent turn ejecting all 10 occupants of the boat,” said the department in a media release.
“The boat continued at a high rate of speed, unmanned around Lake Gage causing further serious bodily injury and property damage. Alcohol was found to be a factor in the accident,” it added.
Indiana conservation officers, members of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, Steuben County EMS, the Orland Fire Department and the Parkview Samaritan Helicopter were all deployed to the scene at just after 7pm on Saturday (15 July).
Those who were injured were immediately transported to the shore by nearby boaters where EMA and fire units tended to their injuries.
Two of the boat passengers were flown via Samaritan Helicopter to Parkview Hospital with injuries including a skull fracture and a partial lower arm amputation.
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Others with less serious injuries were transported to Cameron Memorial Hospital in Angola.
The Ski Nautique motor boat was travelling at approximately 30mph when the incident happened.
The vessel continued circling the lake, unmanned, and was only brought under control after a rope was thrown into its propeller.
However, the motor boat hit a dock and hit the department’s Boston Whaler patrol boat, disabling its engine, before it was finally stopped.
“Conservation Officer Jake Carlile launched a DNR Boston Whaler patrol boat as Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputies alerted residents on the shore to move their docked boats and clear the area as the unmanned boat circled by the shoreline at speed nearing closer to boats and docks with each pass,” explained the department of natural resources.
“Conservation Officer Carlile was able to throw a rope his patrol boat to entangle the propeller of the runaway boat. The boat struck a dock and diverted it’s direction into the rear of the patrol boat Carlile was operating, disabling the patrol boat’s motor due to the impact.”
“The entangling rope eventually slowed the runaway boat. CO Carlile was able to use a nearby personal watercraft and jump onto the runaway boat while both boats were still in motion. He then took control of the unmanned boat and bring it to a stop, averting any further injuries and damage,” added the media release.
Indiana conservation officers are continuing to investigate the incident.