A 12-year-old boy is presumed dead after being hit by a boat driven by a teenage girl on Lake Shasta in California, USA. The boat owner has been arrested

A 12-year-old boy is presumed dead after he was hit by a boat being driven by a 16-year-old girl on Lake Shasta in California.

In a press release, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said the victim went under the bow of the boat and disappeared.

Despite extensive searches, only the boy’s life jacket was found. It had damage consistent with being struck by a propeller.

The boat owner – Robert Noftz – has since been arrested on suspicion of boating under the influence, and has been booked at the Shasta County Jail.

The Sheriff’s Office said that as the 16-year-old girl was a minor, 50-year-old Noftz, from Red Bluff, was technically in command of the boat, although he wasn’t driving at the time.

The 16-year-old girl was at the wheel of the boat on Monday evening (3 July), pulling the 12-year-old boy along on an inner tube.

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The boy asked the girl to “try and knock him off the tube, but turned the boat too sharp and hit a wake from the boat,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The boy, who was wearing a US Coast Guard approved life jacket, was struck by the boat and disappeared beneath the surface of the water. Only his life jacket has been found.

The incident happened in front of Digger Bay on the lake.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety Unit, Dive Team and the California Highway Patrol helicopter searched the area, but were unable to find the 12-year-old boy. Searches are ongoing.

According to California law, those aged 16 or over can legally operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 15 horsepower.

Children aged between 12-15 can also drive a boat but they must be supervised on board at all times by an adult.