Lucky boaters facing charges

TWRA investigators said the people involved in this boating accident were lucky to have survived. (Photo: Courtesy TWRA)

Three boaters are lucky to be alive after crashing their boat into a private boat dock on Ft. Loudoun Lake in Blount County early Sunday morning.

Officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, who enforce boating laws, were called in by the Blount County Sheriff’s Department around 3 a.m. Sunday.

Their investigation found that three people had been in the boat when it slammed into a dock with another boat in it's slip. The exact speed is unknown, but based on damage it was clear to officers the speed was significant. The impact sent the vessel airborne through the covered dock, coming to rest on top of the other boat inside. The top deck of the dock collapsed on top of both boats.

Two people identified as passengers were immediately detained. Both indicated to officers that they were returning from a night of recreation when the accident occurred. They told officers the operator of the boat left the scene and after an hour search was located.

Officers performed a field sobriety test on the driver and placed him under arrest for intoxication. While all three boaters sustained injuries, none were considered serious. TWRA did not release the subjects identities.

“I cannot believe anyone survived. This accident is a prime example of why alcohol and boating don’t mix,” said Blount County Wildlife Officer Mitch Clure. “Many people don't take drinking and boating as serious as drinking and driving, but you can often become impaired quicker drinking on a water than on land because of the outside heat, wave action, and fatigue.”

TWRA officers will continue their investigation into this accident and court appearances will be set later this year in Blount County.

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