PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This weekend’s fatal jet ski accident on the Ohio River raises concerns about boating safety as we head into summer and more people spend time on the area’s rivers.
There is nothing like a full bore cruise with the wind in your hair on a warm sunny day – right up until the point your fiberglass boat hits a submerged log that are plentiful this time of year.
“When it rips the outdrive off like that the water is going to instantly flood in and sink the boat,” Larry Furlong, assistant supervisor for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, said.
Just one of the dangers boaters must watch for with vigilance just like seeing and avoiding other boats, and watching your speed and wake around the Point.
But it is around the dams where first responders answer most of their distress calls.
“More accidents are happening because nobody’s paying attention, alcohol being a contributing factor,” Furlong said.
Hardly a summer has passed without someone going over a dam or being sucked into one.
In cases where boats or jet skis have gone over the dam, they usually don’t continue on like in the movies but instead get pulled by the swirling boil of water back into the base of the dam.
“The boat is going to turn sideways and bump up against that wall and that water coming over the top is going to come into the boat and flip us over,” Furlong explained.
Chances of survival aren’t good.
“The best way to say it is that’s fatal,” he continued. “You go in there, your chances of survival are very, very slim.”