Every summer people head out to Georgia lakes such as Lake Lanier to enjoy the water and to hang out with friends. However, many of the state’s waterways see frequent serious accidents. Craft like jet skis can be deadly on Georgia lakes.
A few years ago, Lake Lanier in Gwinnett County was the scene of a major tragedy when the stepson of R&B star Usher died in a jet skiing accident on the water.
Usher said his stepson Kyle Glover was declared brain dead after an accident on Lake Lanier. According to media reports, two children were in an inner tube being pulled by a pontoon boat when they were hit by a jet ski rider. The driver of the jet ski was a family friend.
Kyle Glover, was the son of Usher’s estranged wife Tameka Foster. The boy and a 15-year-old girl were flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston in critical condition. The girl survived the accident with a broken arm and deep cuts to her head. The rider of the jet ski was later convicted of homicide over the death of the boy.
A series of accidents involving jet skis (personal watercraft) led to calls for more action over safety. A report on Fox News in 2012 noted the accident involving Usher’s step-son and the death of a retired astronaut raised questions about how reckless and untrained thrill-seekers can take to the water on jet skis.
These are powerful and unpredictable vessels but no training is required to operate jet skis.
Jet ski operators are frequently inexperienced. Many jet ski owners think nothing of allowing a novice or a teen relative to take a personal watercraft out for a spin with no safety education or special instructions. The US Coast Guard found most serious jet ski wrecks involve operators aged 11-20. Almost three-quarters had been riding less than an hour when a crash occurred.
The Fox News report noted a rising number of accidents. In 2011, 44 people were killed on personal watercraft, up from 38 a year earlier.
Lake Lanier is a manmade lake with a bad reputation for boating accidents. Since1994, the lake has seen at least 160 people die, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
That’s according to official statistics maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. These figures include boating-related deaths and drownings.
Lake Lanier had considerably more drowning deaths and deaths from boating accidents than other bodies of water in Georgia including Blackshear, Allatoona, Clarks Hill, Hartwell, Jackson, Lanier, Oconee and Sinclair. During the five years from 2011 to 2015, Lake Lanier saw more deaths than these other bodies of water.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Georgia jet ski accident or an accident on another vessel, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyer.