Child succumbs to injuries in boating accident, DNR investigates

Photo of Angela Mulka
FILE - Authorities have not yet released the names of those involved as the investigation is ongoing. 

FILE - Authorities have not yet released the names of those involved as the investigation is ongoing. 

DNR

An 11-year-old girl was killed in a boating incident while wearing a life jacket and helmet in southern Michigan, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported.

Conservation officers for the DNR are investigating the incident and said the girl was struck by a boat around 3 p.m. Wednesday on Lake Michindoh, according to a press release issued by the DNR Thursday. The lake is offshore of the Michindoh Conference Center, a Christian camp and conference center located along Bacon Road on the east side of the lake.

A 25-year-old lifeguard from the conference center was operating a 1989 Supra Sunsport that was pulling 12 children on a banana boat, which is a non-motorized inflatable tube people ride on pulled by a motorized boat, according to the DNR in the release. The boat and tube belonged to the Michindoh Conference Center.

A 29-year-old woman was also on the boat, watching the children as a "spotter," according to the DNR in the release. All children were wearing life jackets and helmets.

Three children fell from the banana boat into the water. When the operator returned to pick up the children, the vessel struck the 11-year-old girl who was not previously seen in the water, according to the DNR in the release.

The man operating the boat "immediately jumped into the water to help the girl and a woman from the conference center called 911 requesting an ambulance," according to the DNR in the release.

A second person called 911 providing additional details.

The girl was transported to the conference center dock and emergency responders met her there for medical treatment. EMS personnel rushed the girl by ambulance to Hillsdale County Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, according to the DNR in the release.

Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be a factor, authorities said. Weather conditions were favorable for boating and the boat was the only operating vessel on the lake when the incident occurred.

The boat operator has a Michigan boater safety certificate and is cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.

Authorities have not yet released the names of those involved as the investigation is ongoing. Assisting agencies are the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, North Adam Fire Department and Reading Emergency Unit.