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Mercer Island, Washington – Missing Boaters Died of Accidental Drowning in Lake Washington

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Posted on October 2, 2019

Mercer Island, Washington (September 30, 2019) – Two bodies recovered from Lake Washington on Monday evening were confirmed to be the boaters that had been declared missing on September 2. The King’s County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the identities of the victims, James Lee and Vanna Nguyen. The cause of their death has been ruled as accidental drowning.

The two boaters were first declared missing on September 2, when Mercer Island Police found a pleasure craft adrift off the southwest end of the island. Police found evidence that the two had been on the boat some time during the evening, but were unable to find the missing boaters despite an air and water search. Marine officers have since then searched the lake bottom using a remote device, finally finding the bodies a mile off the shores of Mercer Island on Monday. The identities and cause of death were confirmed by Tuesday.

About Boat Accidents

We offer our sympathies and compassion to the friends and loved ones of the victims Unfortunately, this is not the only time a boating accident has resulted in fatalities. Like any other vehicle, boats can be involved in dangerous accidents. According to data from the American Boating Association, in the year 2016 a total of 4463 recreational boating accidents were reported, with 701 deaths and 2903 injuries. Additionally, in 80% of accidents where the cause of death was known, the victims of fatal boats accidents drowned, with 83% of drowning victims not wearing a life jacket. Additionally, in 171 known accidents, at least one person was struck by a propeller, resulting in 24 deaths and 175 injuries. As for the type of vessel used in these accidents, the highest percentage of deaths was associated with open motorboats at 47%, followed by kayaks at 13% and canoes with 9%. As for the cause of the accidents, alcohol is know to be the leading known contributing factor to fatal boat accidents. Other cause of accidents included operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure.

Preventing boating accidents comes down to ensuring boat safety regulations are followed. Like with any other vehicle, the vessel itself must be checked to make sure it is safe to use. Proper knowledge of the area where one will be boating is also encouraged. It is also important to make sure that all people on the boat have access to safety devices such as life jackets. Preventing accidents ensures not only our safety, but the safety of others.

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