Boaters remain in hospital after weekend accident
Three men involved in a boating accident Saturday remain hospitalized.
Jason T. Baldner, 35, of 2110 Maplewood Drive, Onalaska, Wis., remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at Lee Memorial Hospital, according to officials.
Two Cape residents, Jason B. Williams, 36, of 2011 S.E. 13th St., was listed as fair, and Eric J. Terpsman, 31, of 1041 S.E. 20th Ave., was listed in good condition.
Williams was driving a boat at the end of Coral Point Drive when the vessel hit a seawall near Cantry Canal at a high rate of speed at about 7:23 p.m., according to officials. Baldner and Terpsma were passengers in the vessel, which topped the seawall and partially landed on land.
The three men were trauma-alerted to Lee Memorial Hospital.
“They hit a seawall and ended up in a vacant lot,” said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
He added that the “damages are extensive” to the boat.
Alcohol is suspected to have played a role in the accident, and officials are awaiting test results.
“It’s under investigation,” Morse said.
He would not speculate Tuesday as to what charges, if any, are pending. However, it appears that Williams failed to maintain a proper lookout while operating the vessel, which is a boating violation, Morse explained.
“This is a situation where some common sense for boating safety were violated,” he said. “There are a few things we tell people to do, and it seems to be consistent with every boating accident that one was not followed.”
According to Morse, boaters and their passengers should:
— Always wear a life vest.
— Keep a proper lookout and be aware of your surroundings.
— Operate a vessel at a safe speed.
— Never operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even prescription drugs.
The investigation continues.