Memorial Day weekend ended in tragedy for an Elk Grove teen on Monday. A recent graduate from Rio Cazadero High School, died from her injuries after a jet ski accident. She was 18 years old.
An Amador county deputy was on boat patrol at Lake Camanche when he was waved down by a man on a jet ski. The 21-year old man was the female victim’s friend, whose watercraft had collided with her own jet ski. The deputy assisted the friend by pulling the high schooler out of the water and began resuscitation efforts.
Unfortunately, the victim remained unresponsive. At that time the deputy steered his boat for the north shore marina while CPR was continued. Medical personnel took the young woman to Sutter Amador Hospital, where she would be pronounced dead in the emergency room. Investigation by the Sheriff’s Office at this time has not yet determined alcohol as a factor in the jet ski accident.
Counseling services are to be provided for students and staff of Rio Cazadero for the start of summer classes on Monday, May 5th. The service will remain provided for as long as needed.
A jet ski accident at Modesto Reservoir leaves another teen dead, and a grieving family
The Lake Camanche accident was sadly not the only jet ski accident to claim a young life over the Memorial Day weekend. On Sunday, a 16-year old resident of Merced, California died after the jet ski piloted by his older brother collided with a larger watercraft. The boy died in the crash, while the 28-year old brother has been left with serious injuries that require surgery.
Stanslaus County sheriff’s consider the ordeal an accident, and one that shows no evidence of alcohol involvement. However, the family of the two brothers claim that this jet ski accident was no accident at all. They claim that the driver of the larger watercraft had challenged the victims to a dangerous game on the water, and even used racial slurs.
Personal watercraft accidents a serious danger
In 2015 a report was released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety. The recreational boating statistics show that personal watercraft, including jet skis, are just behind open motorboats in vessel types involved in accidents.
The leading accident type involving watercraft is collision with other recreational vessels.
The statistics also show that trauma from the collisions is involved in significantly fewer deaths than drowning. Drowning was the leading cause of watercraft accident death in the U.S for 2015, with 428 people dying that year alone. Of all water craft accidents, operator inexperience and inattention are the two leading contributing factors.
National holiday a major factor in accident injury and death?
Memorial Day weekend has statistically been one of the major killers of car drivers every year. A combination of alcohol, driver inexperience or recklessness, and many vehicles on the road have proven to be a deadly combination on any weekend of the year. The extra day afforded by schools and businesses for Memorial Day often means younger drivers are at even greater risk.
Similarly, the waterways, lakes, and reservoirs are also busier. A moment of carelessness, a lack of experience, or even a single beer could be enough to cause a deadly jet ski accident. And given how fast these personal watercraft can be, as well as the limited protection they provide, it is easy to see how a jet ski accident may prove fatal. A rider could be flung off their jet ski, and strike the water with enough force that they could be immediately vulnerable to drowning.
Every year, where local law enforcement also patrols public waterways and lakes, warnings go out to local residents to remain vigilant on the water. Sadly, these warnings do not always save everyone, as this Memorial Day weekend has proven.