SAN DIEGO — A person was seriously hurt Sunday morning in a collision between two boats near Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.
San Diego Lifeguard Lieutenant Rick Romero told an OnScene.TV photographer the victim, who was on an inflatable boat with another individual and a child in a waterski-permitted area, was clipped by the tow rope line of a waterski boat. He confirmed the victim suffered major facial injuries, but they are non-life-threatening.
The inflatable boat was not allowed in the area where the waterski boat was located, according to Romero. He says only one boat is allowed to use that space at a time.
Although the inflatable boat was in a hazardous area, eyewitness and experienced boater Kai Peyrefitte, who was walking the dog with his girlfriend at the time, says the waterski boat “completely disregarded every boating rule.”
“First thing I noticed, they didn’t have a flag person in the boat,” said Peyrefitte, who noted that their responsibilities include letting everyone know that there is a skier in the water and to look around for any hazards.
Peyrefitte said after the waterski boat did their first run, they were very impatient with the family who was rowing the inflatable boat that was not under power.
“They decided to do a second run, regardless of where this family was,” he said. “The family had decided to go through the path of the ski boat after it had done its first run, so it actually stopped and thought they could go through. The ski boat got very impatient, started to do a second run and right before they got to the rowboat, the skier cut across, so basically clotheslined the people in the boat. That’s when I heard a lot of screaming.”
Peyrefitte added that if the passengers on the waterski boat had a flag person and were more aware of their surroundings, the accident could’ve been prevented.
Lifeguard officials did not provide ages of anyone involved in the incident and says they are still gathering information to determine what exactly happened.