A California teen visiting friends on Guntersville Lake ended up badly injured when he was hit by a boat propeller over the holiday weekend. It happened in the Seibold Creek area near Claysville School.
“The boat motor was running and this young man jumped into the water to get on a tube,” ALEA Marine Patrol trooper Chuck Ellis said.
The tube bounced him back towards the boat and the twin props on the boat grabbed his shorts and he was sucked into the props. He was badly cut in the upper leg and groin area. It pinned him against the back of the boat and he was caught between the props and the boat until first responders got there.
“If you wanted to see first responders in action, this was a time to see them,” Ellis said.
He said Guntersville fire medics arrived on the scene, took their shoes off and their wallets out of their pockets and jumped in the water in their clothes to tend to the injured teen.
He praised the medics for their efforts.
The teen was identified as Jesse Hart of Pittsburg, California. He was here visiting friends, Ellis said.
Once the medics got him free of the props, he was placed in a responder boat. The boat then transferred him to an ambulance and he was taken to the Guntersville Airport, where he was loaded on a helicopter ambulance and taken to Huntsville Hospital. He underwent emergency surgery there.
Agencies responding the accident included ALEA Marine Patrol, Guntersville Fire, Guntersville Police and Marshall Medical.
The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. on the 4th of July. The boat involved was a 21-foot Sea Ray. Ellis said the person driving the boat didn’t realize someone was getting in the water.
There was a similar accident on Guntersville last summer when a woman playing on a pool noodle tethered to a boat by a rope got pulled into the propeller when the rope got caught in the prop.
The best rule of thumb to avoid such accidents is for no one to get in the water while the boat is running, Ellis said.