LAKE OF THE OZARKS (KPLR) – A video of a boating accident on the Lake of the Ozarks is going viral, and Missouri state troopers say that’s probably a good thing. They hope people will get the message about going too fast in crowded waters when they see the graphic images.
The incident happened on August 24th, though the video, shot by a Lake TV photographer, wasn’t uploaded to YouTube until September 1st. Since then the images, of the seven passengers being violently thrown into each other and to the deck, have been seen by well over 100,000 people online and countless more watching on television.
Locals like Lisa Reed, a bartender at Beaver’s on the Lake, were shocked, but not entirely surprised by what happened.
“It’s packed. You’ve got the jet skis dodging the big boats. You’ve got the big boats dodging the jet skis. The skidoos wanting to jump off the bigger boats wakes. And you see ‘em flipping over. Falling off.”
But the Missouri Highway Patrol isn’t entirely disappointed the video of the accident is getting so much attention.
“It’s a good example,” Sgt. Jerry Callahan said. “Unfortunately it’s the stories of the injury accidents when they get out there that people really start to pay attention. And we are lucky in this instance I think.”
The driver of the boat, Marvin Carter, III of Memphis, TN suffered moderate injuries and a blow to his wallet as well. He’s being cited for speeding and imprudent operation of the boat. Five of the seven people on board were hospitalized, four of them with moderate injuries including broken bones.
“In Missouri we don’t have a daytime speed limit but that doesn’t mean you can drive your boat as fast as you want,” Callahan said. “You have to look at the existing conditions and look at the boat traffic on the water. Are there more boats? In this instance, the waves. The wakes.”
He hopes that lesson will be driven home as more and more people watch the video.
“I hope people are looking and saying, ‘wow, that could have been really bad.’”