Victim identified in deadly boating accident
MEIGS COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- A boating accident on the Hiwassee River near Highway 58 claims one life Sunday.
Eric Nelson is on the water of the Hiwassee River three to five days a week. He was fishing Sunday evening when storms approached.
"I mean it got bad for about an hour and a half, and then toned back down. Then it got real bad again," explains Nelson.
Around 8:30 p.m. officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency say two boats collided on the water. Dale Rose, 65, of Georgetown, Tennessee did not survive. It's not clear if the weather played a role.
"Our investigators will explore every aspect of that accident, before we make a determination of any contributing factors," says TWRA Wildlife Officer Ben Davis.
Officers say Rose was in a bass boat when it and a bigger, heavier ski boat carrying four people collided.
"Happened somewhere between the island and the highway," Davis says.
The people inside the ski boat were not injured. Tennessee law does not require boaters to wear life jackets, but they do have to have jackets on board. Officers say they were available, but no one was wearing a life jacket at the time of the collision.
Right now it's not clear how the boats collided. Investigators with the TWRA are questioning witnesses and examining the boats.
Nelson hopes this tragedy reminds boaters and fishermen that although fun, boating can have consequences.
"Better be careful, wear that life jacket. It's dangerous out here," says Nelson.
The driver of the ski boat has been identified as Josh Smith, 35, of Cleveland. It's not clear if any charges will be filed in the case.