A collision between two personal watercrafts in Currituck Sound killed one person on the afternoon of July 10, 2016. The crash off the shore of Duck, North Carolina (NC), also left two people injured.
Officials from the state Wildlife Resources Commission opened an investigation into the fatal accident. They had no immediate answers to why the PWCs ran into each other, and they have released few details beyond noting that the woman who lost her life initially survived before succumbing to her injuries at a hospital. Investigators also told reporters that the other people involved in the crash on the water are expected to survive.
This is the second fatal personal watercraft accident my Carolina boating accident attorney colleagues and I have learned of in as many weeks. The earlier deadly accident involved a PWC and a speedboat on Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake. Alcohol was cited as a potential cause of that fatality, and boating while intoxicated (BWI) must be consider in this Duck tragedy, as well.
Many other acts of negligence or recklessness could explain both incidents. Like motorcyclists, PWC riders put other people in danger when they speed, refuse to yield right of way and weave in and out of other vessels. Jumping wakes on personal watercraft also endangers lives. If investigators find that such behaviors led to the injuries and deaths in North Carolina and Virginia, the victims and surviving family members would have strong grounds for filing personal injury and wrongful death claims. Boaters and PWC users have the same duties as drivers to keep others safe.