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Shuswap Lake Boat Incident

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  • Shuswap Lake Boat Incident

    Police investigating fatal B.C. water collision

    By Sam Cooper, Canwest News Service July 4, 2010

    VANCOUVER — A fireworks party on British Columbia’s Shuswap Lake exploded into chaos with a speedboat smashing into a houseboat and vaulting straight into its cabin, killing the larger boat’s driver and injuring many occupants.

    The collision happened late Saturday night, police say, as hundreds of boats were dispersing from an annual long-weekend fireworks show in the Magna Bay area of the lake’s north shore.

    RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said there were 13 people aboard the privately owned 12-metre houseboat, and the local operator, a 53-year-old man, died on the scene.

    Three people were aboard the six-metre Campion speedboat, which remained embedded inside the houseboat following the crash. Police are not disclosing whether any speedboat occupants were injured in the accident about 450 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

    It’s possible that lives were saved as other boaters in the area “instinctively” rushed into the carnage to pry victims from the wreckage, give first aid, and drive patients to shore, Moskaluk said.

    B.C. Ambulance officials helped nine people with injuries ranging from minor bruises to head injuries to broken bones, an ambulance spokesperson said.

    Eight people went to emergency at Royal Inland Hospital in nearby Kamloops, B.C., and two remained in treatment there on Sunday, Interior Health spokeswoman Lannea Parfitt said.

    Moskaluk said police are investigating whether alcohol or dangerous operation of either boat was a factor in the crash, and criminal charges are possible.

    “Details are not fully known about which speeds both vehicles were operating at, but given the velocity it would have taken for the speedboat to project itself and fully embed itself into the cabin portion (of the houseboat), we can safely say there was some speed here,” Moskaluk said.

    He added police are offering counselling to witnesses and victims.

    “For things to go from a peaceful enjoyable evening to a collision with a high volume of casualties, it’s something that’s very traumatic for people to witness — it’s beyond description.”

    Al Christopherson, of Century 21 Lakeside Realty Ltd., said the fireworks show has been growing in popularity for about four years.

    For Saturday’s show there were up to 400 boats driven into Magna Bay, which is about six kilometres wide, Christopherson said.

    “There was a lot of boats out in the bay, but it certainly wasn’t crowded or dangerous,” Christopherson said. “When the fireworks display was over . . . it just looked like a bunch of families going slowly home.”

    Marty McMillan of Anglemont Inn said several of his guests were aboard the houseboat Saturday night but were taken back to shore before the crash.

    “They were a little shaky — the fact they just got off, they feel lucky.”

    “We lost one of our local guys here,” McMillan added. “We’re a real small community and we just have this local fireworks display. I don’t know if we have proper supervision of it.”

    © Copyright (c) The Province

    Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Po...#ixzz0so86kN00
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  • #2
    With 'on the water' accidents, anything could have happened. By the description of the boats, It could also be that they didn't understood the maritime rules of the road or colregs in any kind of detail other than the big boat rule. Still it could have been as simple as an inexperienced operator accidently getting the boat in gear at the wrong time. Also a deep v hull doesn't have to be traveling that fast to climb up into a thin skinned houseboat.

    If you find out more please post it.


    • #3
      From local news reports and talking with members of the North Shuswap First Responders, this was no accident.

      "My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea." - Tommy Douglas 1961.

      Tender 9 - old, slow, ugly, cantankerous, reliable!

      All empires fall, you just have to know where to push


      • #4
        I'm reminded of a bouy located just off a state park in the St Lawrence River. I'm not sure the same actual bouy is still there, but it, or its predecessor, has been hit not once but twice (over a span of several years) by "cigarette" boats travelling in excess of 60 MPH. At 2AM. Both incidents resulted in multiple fatalities.

        This incident has all the appearances of "too fast for conditions," possibly with other factors involved as well.
        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


        • #5
          SFD13, I don't see any reference to it not being an accident??


          • #6
            Anglemont man dies, eight injured: Police investigation to take weeks

            By Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer
            Published: July 06, 2010 10:00 AM
            Updated: July 08, 2010 10:14 AM

            The chairs on the top deck of the Skookumchuk1 houseboat sat undisturbed Sunday morning, a hint of normalcy in contrast to the speedboat that appeared to have been parked purposefully inside the midsection of the craft.

            The head-on crash that lodged the 18-foot Campion runabout speedboat inside the 40-foot houseboat Saturday night left one man dead, eight people injured and the small community of Anglemont gripped by tragedy.

            All those involved in the crash were local residents.

            Killed was 53-year-old Ken Brown, the owner and driver of the houseboat, who friends have described as a helpful and friendly person.

            Although there were 13 people on the houseboat and three on the speedboat, several escaped injury. Eight people were taken to Royal Inland Hospital and all but two were released Sunday. A baby under one year was sleeping in the cabin of the houseboat and was not injured.

            On Tuesday, a man and a woman remained in hospital, but were in stable condition, reported Erin Toews of Interior Health.

            “We had a very chaotic scene,” said Sgt. Troy Beauregard of Chase RCMP, referring to the aftermath of the crash. “We had to account for all persons on the vessels, we had to have emergency extrications, there were mass casualties...”

            The accident occurred about 11:20 p.m. Saturday, a tragic end to a happy, family event. It happened just after the annual Canada Day weekend fireworks in Magna Bay, as boats were leaving the area.

            “There was no sign of crowding or racing or untoward activity at all,” said Scotch Creek realtor Al Christopherson. “I might say everybody’s opinion is, it’s a very well-run show, it’s of great benefit to the community. I was tickled pink sitting on the beach. You could hear children on the top of the boats singing campfire songs, and see others waving glow sticks.”

            Although other witnesses have reported seeing one or two boats travelling too fast in the area, no clear picture has yet emerged as to what happened. All that’s known is that the speedboat plowed into the front of the houseboat, planting itself in the midsection.

            “I’ve talked to people who have been around the water their entire lives, Transport Canada, the Marine Section, the Coroner’s Service, experienced police officers, and nobody’s seen anything like this,” said Beauregard.

            Black Press employee Ray Jolicoeur was on the water at Magna Bay Saturday night.

            Though he didn’t see the crash, he estimated there were 250 boats on the lake — some he described as “driving irresponsibly.”

            It wasn’t until the next day he heard about the accident.

            The wreckage was towed to a marina next door to where Jolicoeur was staying.

            “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “An engineer couldn’t put that boat in there (in the houseboat) any better.”

            Maureen McMillan at the Anglemont Inn said it’s the first accident she’s heard of at the fireworks.

            “We’ve had boating accidents on the lake – there’s one every year, but never at the fireworks.”

            She says she would like to see a better police presence in the area.

            “I know it’s hard for them with staffing, but if they had a police presence, these sorts of things might not happen.”

            Robert Dupel is spokesperson for BoaterExam.com. He is also a former police officer and a former forensic scenes of crime analyst.

            He says he has no doubt, from viewing photos of the speedboat lodged inside the houseboat, that speed was a factor in Saturday night’s crash.

            “There was high speed involved, that’s for sure. Speed is a factor, but the question is, is it mechanical defect or is it negligence?” he said.

            Asked how he knows it was a high-velocity crash, he said: “If it’s a bump, a crack or the front of the boat is damaged, that’s one thing. When a complete boat goes within the structure, it has to be high-speed impact. Just to climb up onto the vessel and climb onto it.”

            Beauregard said the investigation into causes of the crash could be at least a month. Alcohol has not been ruled out.

            “We’re looking into it, it’s being followed up. No breathalyzer test was done, but we are following up on the alcohol issue through other means of investigation.”

            He asks that anyone who may have seen anything or had any interaction with the boats involved, to call the Chase detachment at 250-679-3221.

            “It’s going to be a very technical investigation. We have many, many people to speak with, many avenues of investigation to look at. Everything from recreating the collision to the point of impact to speaking to every witness possible. Once we have all the answers, we will make a determination whether charges are warranted.”

            In the meantime, Al Christopherson says the focus for the community will be to support those families who are suffering.

            “We are a small community. Chances are good we would know most of the people involved in the tragedy, so it’s going to hit home very hard – and it has. It’s the topic at the forefront of every conversation. I think the general attitude is now it’s the time to be there for the families in need.”

            SEE TWO RELATED STORIES: Tight-knit community; Safety in the spotlight.
            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.


            • #7

              RCMP find 27 empties on ski boat in fatal Shuswap Lake crash

              Kamloops Daily News August 6, 2010 1:06 AM

              Police found 27 empty beer and cooler cans in a ski boat that crashed into a houseboat on Shuswap Lake last month, killing the houseboat's driver, court documents say.

              RCMP in Chase filed the documents in order to get a warrant to seize blood samples taken from Leon Reinbrecht, the ski boat's operator.

              Reinbrecht's blood was collected in an area hospital after the July 3 crash. Police state in the court documents they expect the blood samples will

              show the man was impaired at the time of the accident.

              Kenneth Brown, 53, was killed in the crash.

              The RCMP's information to obtain a search warrant spells out what led investigators to suspect Reinbrecht, 48, was impaired at the time.

              According to the documents, officers found 19 empty beer cans inside the ski boat as well as several empty cooler containers.

              The officers also found a small baggie of marijuana near the ski boat, which was covered in bloody fingerprints. The inside of the ski boat was covered in blood.

              At the hospital, officers spoke with Reinbrecht, the court documents indicate. One of the officers noted a strong odour of liquor on the man's breath and asked if he had been drinking earlier in the evening.

              Reinbrecht said in reply that he drank one beer after the crash -- while he was trapped inside the ski boat inside the houseboat, he claimed -- because he was thirsty, police reported.

              © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

              Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/RC...#ixzz0vpDZ0i1H
              If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

              "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

              "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

              Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

              impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

              IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.


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