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Boating collision with fishermen involved in college tournament sends 3 to hospital Thursday

Lake Murray, SC 01/25/2024 (Paul Kirby) – A boat collision around mid-day Thursday sent 1 anglers to the Trauma Center at Prisma Health Richland and 2 others to other area hospitals. Both boats that collided were participating in the practice session for the 2024 Strike King Bassmaster College Series that will be held tomorrow and Saturday. This tournament featured 500 teams from 72 schools across the nation.


According to Stephen Fastenau, a spokesman for the SC Department of Natural Resources, both boats had 2 fishermen in each and 3 of those were transported to the hospital. Lexington County and Newberry County emergency personnel assisted in the treatment of the college age fishermen until ground ambulances arrived to transport the. Several of the victims were thrown from the boats and had to be pulled from the water. This happened in an area of the lake known as the Little Gap which is between Eagle’s Nest Island and the Timberlake area outside of Chapin.


Ben Kirby, a resident of Lake Murray most of his life, said that it was so foggy that he couldn’t see more than 50 feet across the lake until afternoon. “I couldn’t see Wessinger Island at all from our house until temperatures began to climb after lunch,” he stated. “In normal weather, I can see through to Bombing Range Island and the Lexington side of the lake.”


Radio traffic from the scene reported that there was one man with a serious head injury, and several were suffering from hypothermia from being in the water among other injuries. Fishermen who participate in these tournaments are required by the rules to wear personal floatation devices. Often, other boaters simply have them onboard as state law requires for adults. The extent of these boaters’ injuries and the low temperatures of Lake Murray’s waters certainly could have claimed all that were involved.


There has been no official release as to the extent of these boaters’ injuries. We will update as we learn more.



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