5 Dead, Several Others Injured During Holiday Weekend Boating Incidents

By Jason Hall

May 29, 2022

Bow of motoryacht
Photo: Getty Images

Five people have died and more than a dozen others experienced series injuries in relation to multiple boating crashes in Georgia and Illinois during Memorial Day weekend.

Chatham Emergency Services Chief Philip D. Koster told NBC News that two boats carrying a combined total of nine individuals collided nearly head-on while traveling on Wilmington River near Savannah, Georgia on Saturday (May 28) at some point before 10:42 a.m., when the Coast Guard fielded a report of the crash.

Two people were initially confirmed dead at the scene while three others were reported missing before being recovered and pronounced dead on Sunday (May 29) morning. The other four individuals involved in the crash were transported to Memorial Health Medical Center in Savannah to receive treatment for their injuries, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources confirmed in a statement obtained by NBC News Sunday morning.

Koster said four of the six passengers onboard one of the boats during the crash were teenagers.

In Illinois, a 30-foot boat with 17 individuals onboard caught fire in the area of Seneca, Illinois on the Illinois River at around 5:30 p.m.

Illinois State Police confirmed one person experienced serious injuries and was transported by helicopter to medical facilities, while 13 others were hospitalized with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Authorities said the fire took place as the boat appeared to be docked, berthed or stopped near Spring Brook Marina and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are continuing to investigate what caused the blaze.

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