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Investigations continue into weekend boat accidents

By Staff | May 30, 2017

Investigations continued on Tuesday into two separate boat crashes over the Memorial Day weekend that left one boy dead and sent several others to the hospital.

At about 9 a.m. Saturday, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commis-sion responded to a serious boat accident on the Caloosahatchee. According to a report, a 32-foot Century Cuddy Cabin center console boat had struck the fender system of the Midpoint Memorial Bridge.

Noah Pollock, 12, and Wade Pollock, 10, both of Odessa, Florida, were ejected from the boat. Ryan Pollock, 44, also of Odessa, Florida, and Benjamin Tipton, 72, of North Fort Myers, were injured.

Tipton was reportedly operating the vessel.

FWC reported that both juveniles were recovered from the water.

Noah was pronounced dead on the scene; the others were transported to a local hospital.

FWC Officer Brian Norris reported that Wade was later air-lifted to Tampa General Hospital.

Wade’s condition was unknown on Tuesday.

Ellen Fiss, a spokeswoman for Tampa General Hospital, reported that he was not listed in the patient directory. She said the family could have elected to have him removed from it or he was not there.

“Without the name being listed, I can’t confirm anything,” Fiss said.

Lee Health officials reported that Tipton was listed in good condition as of Tuesday.

Pollock’s condition was also unknown as he was not in the patient directory.

Also on Saturday, FWC responded to a second accident that sent three people to the hospital.

At about 12:55 p.m., a 21-foot Chris-Craft was coming up on plane in the Caloosahatchee, near Jaycee Park, according to a report. Abruptly, the vessel turned hard to the starboard side.

Two people were ejected into the water.

Brent A. Sommer, 61, of the Cape, was reportedly operating the boat.

He was injured, along with Patrick Looby, 69, and Kathleen Looby, 66, also both from Cape.

Lee Health officials reported that all had been treated and released as of Tuesday.

Another occupant, Dannie Sommer, 59, of the Cape, had not been injured.

The Cape Coral Police Department and Fort Myers Police Department assisted FWC.

“Both (accidents) are very much still under active investigation – just because of the severity of them,” Norris said, noting that it could four to six weeks or more for FWC to complete them.

“There’s a lot that goes into these investigations, especially when there’s a fatality,” he said.

Norris noted that the investigations were “very preliminary” as of Tuesday.

According to both reports, no one was arrested and it was unknown if alcohol played a part.

“There have not been any charges,” he said.

“We’re still trying to determine if alcohol was a factor,” Norris added. “We don’t know, at this point, if it was a factor or not.”

On Saturday, the crashes shut down the Everest Boat ramp in the Cape for most of the day. Officials reported that the investigators were using the ramp as a staging area to handle the two accidents.

Norris urged the public to be safe on the water.

“Make sure everything is in working order before you head out,” he said.

Have life jackets and other safety equipment, and file a float plan.

“Where you are going and what time you expect to be back,” Norris said.

Funeral arrangements for Noah James Pollock are under the direction of the Blout & Curry Funeral Home Carrollwood, at 3207 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa, FL 33618. According to an online obituary, donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Carrollwood Day School in Tampa in Noah’s name.

The school is at: www.carrollwooddayschool.org/.

Erma Ruffkess, director of communications for the Carrollwood Day School, confirmed on Tuesday that Noah was a student at the school. However, she declined to comment on the tragic situation.

“At this time, we are not making a statement,” Ruffkess said.

“We are respecting the privacy of the family,” she added.

According to the school’s website, Noah played on the middle school football team. He was also a member of the boys’ junior varsity middle school track and field team, along with his brother, Wade.

This past year, Noah made the Principal’s Honor Roll and Honor Roll as a sixth-grader.