All along, it has been reported that both alcohol and hard-to-see construction barges may have been factors in the collision. The boat's operator was arrested, and according to several news reports, investigators say he was under the influence of alcohol during the crash. Questions remain about whether the construction barges were lit clearly enough to avoid such a catastrophe.
But one thing was clear from an article published today on ynn.com. Autopsies of both crash victims reveal that the cause of both of their deaths was drowning. Neither of them (in fact, none of the boat's passengers) were wearing life jackets.
Is it possible that if the boaters were wearing life jackets that this story could have had a less tragic ending?
In another incident, related only because of a similar, potentially avoidable, outcome, a 70 year old man fell out of his boat and drowned in a canal in Whiteville, North Carolina. This just happened yesterday. Apparently, he was fishing and capsized the small boat when he stood up to get a look at some birds. (Full story from wcnc.com.) Would a life jacket have changed the outcome?
Photo Courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard.