Pontoon Boat propeller warning from Aiden Mckitrick’s mother
Back on May 5, 2016, three year old Aiden McKitrick fell from the front of a pontoon boat and was entrapped on the propeller.
We posted coverage of his accident at that time.
Now (early March 2017) about ten months after Aiden’s accident on Lake Ray Hubbard in Texas, his mother is speaking out with a warning to parents.
WFAA (ABC channel 8 of Dallas, Texas), carried her story in a 2 March 2017 newscast. The news story is accompanied by an emotional video in which she tries to alert others of how her son was nearly killed by pontoon boat propeller.
Aiden’s mother, Kelly Mckitrick, is a nurse and his father is a firefighter. His father helped extract him from the propeller, and his mother has played the role that only a mother can in his recovery.
His mom says, “When they raised the propeller up that’s when my husband saw his intestines hanging out and his leg was mangled.”
She reports she received a call saying her son was dying.
His mother’s warning to families, is, “One of the biggest factors in us having a pontoon boat was the gates and the fact your kids couldn’t fall out and that was the one thing he fell over and got hurt.”
She say that while out on the boat which his dad and uncle, “He ran up to the gate and flipped over it.”
WFAA’s coverage includes a great video of Aiden’s mother speaking about his recovery and of her concern about children flipping/falling over pontoon boat gates.
Propeller Safety dot com comments:
A big thanks to Aiden Kitricks mother for coming forward to try to prevent other families from going through what they have been going through and will be going through for the rest of their lives.Another big thanks to Rebecca Lopez at WFAA for doing this story, to the two newscasters who presented (John McCaa and the lady who did most of the speaking setting up the segment), and to WFAA for airing the story.
We have long been covering the problem of people falling over the bow on pontoon boats. Sometimes they are children bow riding with their legs dangling in the water while the boat is underway, sometimes they fall over the rails, sometimes the gate breaks, sometimes the gate latch gives way, sometimes the rail breaks, sometimes they fall though or over the gate like Aiden’s mom says he did.
Our coverage includes:
- A list of nearly 200 of these accidents
- Our coverage of six of these accidents happening in 8 days in late July and early August 2016
- Our paper on ways to prevent these accidents
- How to prevent these accidents by design
- Our Public Comment letter to NBSAC in September 2016.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council discussed the pontoon boat issue at their October 2016 meeting after we called the Coast Guard’s attention to the cluster of 6 accidents in 8 days late in the 2016 boating season.
At the NBSAC meeting, the Coast Guard reported they had contracted with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) who hired an accident reconstruction specialist to analyze pontoon boat accident data to determine how some of these accidents could be prevented. Per minutes of the meeting, “ABYC is working with some of the boat manufacturers to discuss what may be done to mitigate or eliminate the problem. They hope to have the ABYC accident analysis in hand by the end of the year (end of 2016).”
While we are thrilled to see some action toward addressing over the bow pontoon boat accidents, its sad it did not happen years ago.Kelly Mckitrick’s passionate plea to families of the dangers of pontoon boats is not a good thing for the pontoon boat industry at this time when pontoon boat sales have been booming.
Meanwhile, Mrs. McKitrick says as more people get ready to go on the lake she wants them to be aware of the dangers of boating.
If Mrs. Mckitrick gets before a national audience, it will be interesting to see if the industry to respond publicly to the issue.
Please be sure and take the time to view the approximately two minute video on WFAA of Aiden’s mom’s message.
Thank you so much for writing this article. Please let me know if I can do anything else to bring light to this topic.
You are very welcome. Thank you for all your efforts to raise awareness. We hope Aiden has a great summer. One thing you could do to raise awareness is to participate in Waves of Hope (previously called something like engaging boat accident survivors). It is a Facebook group facilitated by a Coast Guard grant. About once a month the group has a “group call” and visits for perhaps an hour about relevant topics and ways they can help make boating safer. The “group” has survivors from many types of boat accidents, but primary topics are often related to preventing propeller accidents and the need to wear life jackets.