Archive for Propeller Accident Report

Yu Chen

Yu Chen

Yu Chen, 43, an accomplished wakesurfer (Sail Surfer) was teaching lessons on Lake Mendota in Wisconsin about 6 pm Wednesday 31 May 2017. The University of Wisconsin maintains a Lifesaving Station on the lake. Their boat was returning from a rescue to Governors Island when Yu Chen was struck between the UW LifeSaving Station and Edgewater Hotel.

The accident is under investigation. Among the agencies involved are Dane County Sheriff’s Office, University Police, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Yu Chen was struck by a University of Wisconsin Lifesaving Station Boat. He was thought to have been wearing a GPS watch on his left arm which was severed from his body during the accident.

While the accident is still under investigation, media reports indicate he was struck in the neck by the propeller and his left arm was severed by the propeller.

Three people were thought to have been onboard the rescue boat.

The people on the rescue boat tried to help Chen, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More→

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Deputy Devin Hodges of Anderson South Carolina Sheriff’s Office drowned while entrapped on a boat propeller on Lake Hartwell, 1 June 2017. We previously covered the accident at Deputy killed by boat propeller.

As a well liked young man, serving in law enforcement, leaving behind a wife and four young children, there has been a tremendous outpouring of compassion and support from the community and from the law enforcement community around the country.

His funeral will be at the Anderson Civic Center at 1 pm today (Tuesday 6 June 2017).

Anderson Independent Mail published a great article on the upcoming funeral. Most points below have been gleaned from that article.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster spoke in Anderson yesterday (Monday) and ordered flags across South Carolina to half mast on Tuesday in honor of Deputy Hodges. Read More→

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Anderson County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) in South Carolina was conducting on water training exercises in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Lake Hartwell in the Singing Pines Recreational area near Starr South Carolina on Thursday 1 July 2017. ACSO Deputy Devin Hodges and another ACSO person were on a USACE boat thought to have been being operated by a USACE participant in the training exercise.

An accident investigation is underway. For yet to be determined or released reasons, all three people on board were ejected from the 19 foot Pioneer patrol boat. The boat unmanned circled in the Circle of Death and Officer Devin Hodges was fatally struck by the propeller.

Deputy Devin Hodges

Deputy Devin Hodges

Some reports say he was struck in the head. Read More→

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This report is of a near miss propeller propeller accident that could have been avoided if the operator had been wearing a kill switch per Canadian authorities.

It also points out the dangers of hypothermia while boating in cold waters that were stressed in the recent NBSAC meeting.

Thursday night, 23 March 2017, a family of four were boating on Cowichan Bay off Vancouver Island, Canada.

While trying to pull up a crab pot, the two male adults and a 2 year old boy were ejected from the boat when one man inadvertently bumped the throttle, leaving a 5 year old girl and a dog on board.

Only the children were wearing life jackets.

The 5 meter boat spun in the Circle of Death at full speed in the cold water. Read More→

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Matthew Meinert and son Oliver just before they took off Star-Telegram image

Matthew Meinert and son Oliver just before they took off
Star-Telegram image

On Monday, 6 March 2017, Matthew Meinert, 38 of Trophy Club Texas, and his two year old son, Oliver, went fishing in Denton Creek near Lake Grapevine in the Fort Worth – Dallas Texas area. Matthew Meinert was last seen Monday near Lake Grapevine.

Matthew and Oliver launched their boat about 5 pm Monday from Tropy Club boat ramp.

Between 5 and 6 pm Monday a boater found his boat on shore abandoned on Denton Creek just west of Highway 377 in what was referred to an an unusual location. The boater used the cell phone to call the family, then called 911.

Meinert's boat as found on shore clipped from a Fox 4 image

Meinert’s boat as found on shore
clipped from a Fox 4 image

His cell phone and life jackets were found with the boat.

A search and rescue effort was mounted Monday night. The search was called off at 2am for safety, and restarted at 9am Tuesday. As a Flower Mound police officer and a game warden were headed to the boat on Tuesday morning about 8:45am, they saw two year old boy, Oliver, walking though heavy brush. He had survived being alone and cold in the woods overnight in a t-shirt and shorts with all kinds of wildlife nearby. Oliver was scratched up and cold but safe, and asked the officers for juice. He was taken to the Cooks Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth to be check out, and found to be fine. Read More→

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Hunter Bland and Conner Young are members of the University of Florida Bass Fishing Team. Saturday January 14, 2017 Bland and Conner were fishing in the FLW bass tournament on Lake Seminole along Georgia’s border with Florida. It looks like the accident may have occurred shortly after blastoff as they are following a wake and several boats run by them to their left. Bland and Young are running about 57 mph, the boat’s hydraulic steering is thought to have malfunctioned, the large outboard motor fliped all the way to the side and the boat swerved hard right. They were both ejected.

The accident was captured by an onboard GoPro camera providing the first ever bass boat ejection video we are aware of. The video is remarkably stable, in high resolution, and even provides a slow motion view. Fittingly, it opens with a scripture.

Ejected from bass boat

Ejected from bass boat

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Good Samaritans in Minnesota have came to the rescue in at least two different Circle of Death boating accidents so far this year.

Neighbors were recently honored for saving Lora Sweet, 51, and Timothy Bahama, 48, both of Brainerd Minnesota from a 15 April 2016 Circle of Death accident on Rice Lake. They were in a 17 foot tiller steered fishing boat powered by a 40 horsepower outboard. Lora and Timothy were both flung from the boat into cold 44 degree water about 6pm, the boat went into the Circle of Death, and ran over Sweet more than once. News reports sway she was struck by the motor / propeller twice. WCCO 4News at Noon told the story of the award ceremony on 27 September 2016.

Rescuers Honored in MN

Neighbors Honored in MN boat accident rescue

The video above appears to show a tiller steered Lund boat.

The second pair of Good Samaritans, Brian Bahr and Kyle Bourasa, sprang to the rescue this past Sunday, 24 October 2016 on Bald Eagle Lake near the town of White Bear Lake. They pulled two men from 50 degree water while the victim’s boat was in the Circle of Death. KSTP ABC News5 ran a great article and video telling of the rescue.

The video above also appears to show a tiller steered Lund boat, this one with a Mercury Marine outboard motor.


Thousands of boaters owe their lives to similar Good Samaritans around the country and world. We thank all of them and encourage the rest of you to be prepared and willing to spring into action should the need arise. Boat propeller accidents would be more frequent and more severe without your help.

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Kaden Frederick cropped from Daily Mail image

Kaden Frederick
cropped from Daily Mail image

Kaden Frederick, 9 of Howell New Jersey, was among 17 people on a rental pontoon boat in Sinepuxent Bay near Ocean City Maryland on Wednesday afternoon August 17th. Four people, including Kaden, were bow riding / bowriding with their legs dangling off the front of the pontoon boat. About 2:50 pm Kaden Frederick and an 11 year old fell overboard. The operator could not stop the boat in time. Both children were struck by the rental pontoon boat propeller. Kaden was struck several times by the propeller. His father is Ulyssee Frederick Jr. The driver of the boat has not yet been identified.

A group of paramedics and state troopers were nearby on a pontoon boat. Six of them boarded the rented pontoon boat ( says those included two nurses, on emergency medical technician, and two off-duty troopers) to help out after Kaden’s relatives pulled him from the water. Kaden went into cardiac arrest and died.

The pontoon boat had been rented from Under the Bridge Water Sports in Ocean City Maryland. says the operator took a brief safety course at the rental facility before the group of 17 family members and friends departed the dock. Per, a spokeswoman for Maryland Natural Resources Police said, “It is not legal for a person to sit with his or feet draped over the edge of a pontoon in Maryland” and that alcohol is not expected to be a factor in this accident.

Under the Bridge rental pontoon boats

Under the Bridge rental pontoon boats

The maker of the pontoon boat and outboard motor have not been publicly identified. From the rental facility website, there is a strong probability the outboard is a 90 horsepower Honda outboard.

Like many accidents, early on there is conflicting information. For example, early reports say the other child (11 year old) was taken to a local hospital with propeller lacerations. However, later reports say only one child was involved.

WDRE posted a great video with some footage of the area and the tour boat that came to the rescue. Read More→

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Kaelynne Driscoll and her dog, Ditch

Kaelynne Driscoll and her dog, Ditch

Kaelynne Driscoll, an 8 year old girl, was riding an inner tube with her father, Christopher Driscoll, on Wednesday 6 July 2016. They were tubing on Skaneateles Lake in Onondaga County New York behind a 17 foot Bayliner boat. The tube struck a wake, she and her father fell from the tube, the boat, being operated by Kaelynne’s step mother (Jamie Wheeler), circled back around to pick them up, and both were struck by the boat’s propeller.

Authorities were first called a little before 6pm.

Two Good Samaritans boating nearby (Eric Marcinkowski or Syracuse and David Goetzmann or Skaneateles) pulled them from the water and took them to shore at the State Boat ramp near A41 where they were met by first paramedics and taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse New York.

The Good Samaritans later told their story to They had only been out a short time when they heard screams. Marcinkowski went to a nearby swim platform where he grabbed Kaelynne from her father. Her father was trying to hold her up as her life jacket had been cut off by the boat propeller. As Marcinkowski pulled the girl from the water, he started wrapping her in towels to try to slow down blood loss, while he tried to keep her head steady. Goetzmann quickly drove them to the boat ramp where paramedics had already arrived.

Kaelynne had been struck in the head, arm, and leg. Read More→

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Cash Fox based on NBC2 photo

Cash Fox
based on NBC2 photo

Cash Fox, a 7 year old Florida boy was on a 20 foot boat with his father (Kevin Cash) and his 11 year old brother near Stump Pass Marina, near Englewood in Charlotte County, Florida the morning of Saturday 9 July 2016. A little before 9am, Cash’s father,

The boy was taken to Englewood Community Hospital where he later died. Read More→

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