Freak Sailing Accident Kills Boy Scouts

A terrible sail boating accident on an East Texas waterway in Marion County killed two Hallsville Boy Scouts and severely injured another just before 2:00 pm on Sunday, August 6th. The boys, ages 18, 16 and 11, were sailing a Hobiecat Catamaran out of Lake O’ the Pines Marina on Alley Creek when the vessel’s single metal sail mast carrying full sails collided with a high voltage overhead power transmission line. All three of the boys were electrocuted and the older two severely burned and killed. The youngest boy was also extensively injured and knocked unconscious. After receiving a 911 call, local Texas Game Wardens arrived on the scene to find the 18-year-old’s body in the sailboat’s still burning hull and the 16-year-old’s body floating in the water nearby. The occupants of another nearby boat had rescued the youngest boy out of the water and had been administering CPR, but the 11-year-old remained nonresponsive. He was taken to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana is extremely critical condition and it is presently unclear whether he will survive his extensive injuries. The three boys were Scouts in Troop 620 in Hallsville and they were all wearing flotation devices before the collision. Investigation continues as to how this tragedy occurred.
What an appalling price to pay for a cautionary lesson. Sailboat operators must know the height of the tallest mast aboard and what structures that mast will encounter on any planned voyage. Of course these boys might have known both and been moved in a direction they did not intend to go by a sudden strong wind gust or an equipment failure or a steering miscalculation. But, whatever the final investigation reveals, three fine boys paid a terrible price.