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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 16, 2017 11:48 am

Several hurt in Lake Gage motorboat incident

The Journal Gazette

Several people were thrown from a motorboat into Lake Gage on Saturday night, injuring some seriously, and an Indiana conservation officer used a rope, a patrol boat and a personal watercraft to stop the unmanned boat, which was circling the lake at about 30 mph, conservation officers said today.

Dominique Effinger, 20, of Fort Wayne, was charged with boating while intoxicated causing injury and being a minor in possession of alcohol, conservation officers said in a statement.

They said 911 calls were received from Lake Gage, in Steuben County, about 7:15 p.m. reporting the incident and saying several people were still in the water with serious injuries.

Several seriously injured people were taken to shore by local citizens' boats so EMS and fire units could tend to the injuries, the statement said. It said two people were flown to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne with injuries including a skull fracture and a partial lower-arm amputation. Others less seriously hurt were taken to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola.

Conservation Officer Jake Carlile launched a Department of Natural Resources patrol boat as county sheriff's deputies urged residents to move their boats and clear the area, the statement said. It said the unmanned 21-foot Ski Nautique motorboat was coming closer to boats and docks with each circle.

Carlile threw a rope from the patrol boat to entangle the motorboat's propeller, the statement said. It said the boat then struck a dock and changed direction, striking the back of the patrol boat and disabling the patrol boat's motor.

The rope slowed the motorboat, the statement said, and Carlile used a nearby personal watercraft to jump onto the runaway boat while both were in motion. He then brought the motorboat to a stop.

The incident remains under investigation by conservation officers.