The state Fish and Boat Commission used near tragedy at Curwensville Lake as an example of why people should always use life jackets when out on the water.
Conservation Officer Thomas McMann of the state Fish and Boat Commission attended yesterday’s meeting of the Conservation District Board of Directors and reported on an incident that occurred at Curwensville Lake on the Fourth of July weekend.
He said at that time, a 16-year-old girl was run over by a jet ski and had to be flown by medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.
“It was pretty traumatic,” McMann said.
He said there was a jet ski with two people on it and the girl was on the back of the first jet ski. A second jet ski was following along behind them when it started raining.
As they were heading back to shore it started to downpour so hard that the jet skiers reported it stung their skin.
The first jet ski stopped and the second jet ski didn’t see them and plowed into them.
The girl was immediately ejected from the jet ski due to the impact.
Fortunately, the girl was wearing a life jacket, which cushioned the blow and likely saved her from suffering a broken spine, McMann said.
While in the water she immediately became sick and nauseated because her liver was lacerated and due to her injuries, couldn’t kick her legs or swing her arms to swim. Fortunately she was wearing a life jacket, which kept her afloat. A pontoon boat was nearby and removed her from the water and took her to the boat ramp where the ambulance was waiting.
“This life jacket saved her in numerous ways,” McMann said.
All those involved were from Cambria County and McMann said officials traveled to Cambria County to interview them and inspect the jet skis. He said the juvenile driving the second jet ski was remorseful and had tears in his eyes when he was interviewed. McMann said the second jet ski driver was cited, pleaded guilty and paid the fine. The girl recovered from her injuries.
“All in all, it worked out,” McMann said.
But, he said in accidents such as this, those who don’t wear life jackets sometimes don’t make it and said this accident is a good example why life jackets are important while out on watercraft.