Tourists and visitors to the Southeast region may be put at additional risk if they are unaware of their surroundings or attempting new recreational activities. According to reports, a 77-year-old North Carolina woman drowned in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia after she fell out of a boat in the Suwanee Canal. The woman was visiting the swamp with her husband at the time of the accident. Authorities reported that the Efland woman was staying with her husband at the Laura S. Walker State Park while visiting the swamp.
Drowning and boating accidents are common along the coast and on inland streams, rivers, and lakes throughout the Southeast. According to reports, the victims’ husband stopped to look at something and had turned off the engine. When he restarted the motor, the boat lurched forward, “standing on end” and they both fell backwards out of the boat. Police reports indicate that the husband tried to help his wife, but she become entangled in the boat’s propeller and suffered fatal injuries. The accident occurred approximately 7 or 8 miles down from the boat basin where they launched. After initial calls for help were made, local law enforcement officials, fire and rescue personnel, as well as officers from U.S. Fishing and Wildlife Service and the State DNR responded to the scene. Though attempts were made to revive the woman, she was pronounced dead at the refuge by the Ware County coroner.
Boating on any body of water can be dangerous, but the swampy refuge may include other dangerous conditions and traps for the unwary. Even those who have strong swimming skills could suffer in an accident if unfamiliar with navigating a swamp. Since the accident, the refuge has been reopened for the public. Investigations were said to be ongoing and no official cause of death has been reported. The victim may have suffered from drowning or other physical injuries related to contact with the propeller. A statement offering condolences to the victims’ family was made on behalf of the refuge.
Liability involving boating accidents depends on where the accident took place, who was at fault, and other facts related to the accident. Our Asheville boating accident attorneys are experienced in the investigation of boat accident claims. In boating accident cases, liability will fall on the boat or property owner, the driver or other negligent parties, and possibly a boat manufacturer. Cases involving state and national parks, including refuge areas, can be more complicated. This month the 9th Circuit allowed a woman to pursue her claim after being injured at a National Park. Local, state, and national parks have different responsibilities and liabilities in the event of an accident.
In any case, an experienced attorney should review the facts, police reports, and statements to determine the cause of the accident. Since the boat seemed to have some kind of malfunction, an investigation should be made into whether the boat was properly manufactured and operated. An experienced, local advocate should pursue all available claims against negligent individuals and entities after a boating accident.
Contact the Greensboro personal injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Hunting Accident in North Carolina Results in Death, October 4, 2014, Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers Blog
NC Court of Appeals Halts Case for Finding of Contributory Negligence, Aug. 5, 2014, Rock Hill Injury Lawyer Blog