Angels Watching Over Us: 13 Survive High Speed Boat Accident
A boating accident on the Mississippi reveals the five most important tips to save your life on the water.
A high-speed boating trip on the Mississippi almost turned into disaster on Sunday. Thirteen passengers, most not wearing life jackets, were ejected into the river. All survived. "We had angels watching over us, we did. That's a miracle out there, we should not be alive," survivor Kristin Pruitt told KARE11 TV news.
Goodhue County Sheriff Deputies say all 13 people on board were thrown into the river; some were thrown through the windshield after the driver tried to either stop or turn the boat at a high rate of speed. Authorities say alcohol was not a factor in the incident and luckily, no one was seriously injured.
"To be honest with you it happened so fast, I don't... I remember being in the air for a few seconds and after that it was just coming up from the water," Stacy Hallas recalls.
Hallas remembers seeing someone she didn't know pull her into a boat. 4 boats rushed to the scene to pull all 13 people out of the river. "They (witnesses) saw it happen, they said people were thrown 50 to 70 feet in the air," Sgt. Kris Johnson with the Goodhue Co. Sheriff's Office said.
"They were meant to be where they were, definitely they were meant to be where they were," Hallas explained.
11 of the 13 were sent to area hospitals after they were rushed to shore. Only 2 of the boats occupants were wearing life jackets; they were Hallas' children, ages 5 and 10.
"Chances of surviving an accident like that dramatically increase and we'd like to see everyone wearing their life jackets like those two kids were," Johnson remarked.
TSC Boating Survival Tips
#1: Always Wear a Life Vest:
The Coast guard estimates that 70 percent of recreational boating fatalities are caused by drowning. Some 85 percent of victims aren't wearing life vests. The national life jacket/personal flotation device wear-rate is estimated between five and 20 percent.
Nine of 10 drowning victims might have survived if they had been wearing a life vest, according to the experts.
The Coast Guard approves the use of three kinds of life vests: inherently buoyant, inflatable, and hybrid. To learn more about choosing a life jacket, click here.
#2: You Can't Just Rely on Skill:
It turns out that most boating accidents and fatalities involve boaters with more than 100 hours boating. Even if you're a skilled boater, you can't count on everyone else knowing how to navigate safely.
#3: File a Float Plan:
Before you leave the dock, let your friends and family know where you're going and when you'll be back.
#4: Take a Boating Safety Course:
In Florida, 85 percent of victims in boating accidents have never taken a boating safety course.
#5: Leave the Booze at the Dock:
For an excellent blog on powerboating safety - where we found many of the tips above - please take a look at Ericka Watson's writing here. Ericka served in the Coast Guard and became a freelance writer and journalist.