A teenager died and a man sustained life-threatening injuries when the motorboat they were in hit a pylon near Sunset Harbor in Brunswick County, North Carolina (NC), on August 10, 2014. The fatal boating accident occurred on the Intracoastal Waterway, and the victims were transported by a nearby fishing vessel to Oak Island before being taken to a hospital.
Emergency personnel did not release information on why or how the crash happened, and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission investigators have opened an investigation. Scenarios that will have to be considered are whether the driver of the boat was speeding, impaired by drugs or alcohol or distracted. State law requires operators of watercraft with inboard engines or outboard motors that produce more than 10 horsepower to hold a boating license. Regulations regarding boating while intoxicated and obeying posted speed limits or maintaining a speed appropriate for conditions are the same on the water as they are for car and truck drivers on the road.
As a North Carolina wrongful death and personal injury attorney who has helped many people injured in wrecks on the water, I know that risks to boat drivers and passengers are serious. Any small mistake, momentary distraction or bit of recklessness can create a potentially deadly situation. If any good can come from the accident at the mouth of the Lockwoods Folly River in southeastern North Carolina, it may be that other boaters act more cautiously while operating their own watercraft.
Regardless of what happened in Brunswick Harbor, my condolences go out to the friends and family members of the teenager who lost his life. I also with the injured man a full and rapid recovery.