Since Thursday, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has responded to more than a dozen serious boating incidents, including drownings, a hit-and-run crash on the water, boat fires, sinking boats, and boat crashes, officials said.
“As we head into the afternoon and evening of the FourthÂ of July, to say that wildlife and boating officers have been busy this holiday weekend would be a vast understatement,” a press release said. “Itâ€™s a good thing that TWRA officers hope for the best and prepare for the worst as they have worked tirelessly around the clock responding to over a dozen serious boating incidents on Ft. Loudon, Norris, and Melton Hill lakes alone.”
Since Thursday, officers have investigated or assisted with two drownings, a hit-and-run personal watercraft incident, three boat fires, multiple sinking boats, and boat collisions, as well as making a rescue on Chilhowee Mountain and arresting five operators for boating under the influence, or BUI, the press release said. An illegal black bear hunting case was also made on Friday night.
On Saturday on Norris Lake, officers investigated two boating accidents before the Fire on the Water fireworks show as well as two accidents after the show. In one incident, a couple was rescued from a sinking vessel near Sequoyah Marina, while two boats collided in a separate accident near Waterside Marina. In other incidents, two personal watercrafts collided in the Big Creek area of Norris, and a person fell off the dock at Blue Springs Dock.
In another unfortunate accident, a 19-year-old man, William E. Blasius of Knoxville, died after jumping from the top of a houseboat near Sequoyah Marina in Andersonville. Witnesses said he was attempting to jump over another boat and struck that boat before disappearing into 30 feet of water, the press release said. [Read more…]