1 dead, 1 hurt after boat collision

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Submitted: Fri, 07/05/2013 - 9:23pm
Updated: Fri, 07/05/2013 - 11:04pm

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A boat accident yesterday left one person dead and another injured.

It happened on the Northeast Cape Fear River near the Swann Plantation neighborhood.

“Me and the wife were out on the front porch, and we heard something that sounded just like a car wreck, it was that loud,” Jim Whitehurst said. “You know, when you’re hearing boat motors running, and all of a sudden you hear a big bang, and it’s quiet, you know that’s what happened.”

Whitehurst and his wife rushed over in their boat to see if they could help after the two boats collided on the river.

By the time they got there, they say it was too late.

“It looked like they were doing everything they could possibly do,” Whitehurst said. “I mean there were seven or eight people over top of her, so they were trying CPR and whatever else they could do to keep her alive, but I think it didn’t last long.”

Witnesses say that one woman, a mother of two, died in the accident, and one man, who they think is her husband, was severely injured.

They tell us the boats that crashed were 14 to 16 foot john boats, and say that they were speeding.

“They were flying when they hit each other,” Whitehurst added. “Because it ripped the other boat all to pieces.”

Those who live along the river say speeding around this corner has been a problem for years.

They say they tried to make this a no-wake zone for this very reason, but have had no success.

“We actually had petitioned to have the county put a no-wake zone here you know, and the fact was, stating that someone’s going to get killed if they don’t patrol this area, slow the boats down a little bit. And this is a dangerous curve.”

They are hoping that now something will be done about it.

“I will probably be asking the board to reconsider this as far as making a request to the state,” George Brown, Pender County Board of Commissioners said.

We tried to contact investigators for more information, but have yet to hear back.

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17 Comments on "1 dead, 1 hurt after boat collision"

2015 years 8 months ago

you bring up good points about all the building on rivers, time to tear down all the homes and distractions, let the river go back natural, will be a lot more enjoyable, if you build a dock on a public resource, you can expect it to get rocked.

2015 years 8 months ago

Stop arguing semantics a person is dead. An amazing mother of two, yes I know the people involved. It’s very annoying when people don’t show concern for the people involved or those left behind. GAHHHH quit being rude…I know this comes off as abrasive and everything but I don’t care.

Guest 1492
2015 years 8 months ago

Maybe we should only hire LEO’s who are psychics. That way, whenever a boating accident is about to occur, the LEO’s will already be there to prevent it. Or perhaps, we could just station them every quarter mile or we could substitute them for river buoys at all of those dangerous places.

As you said, “the first boating death in years” and you’re carping about the lack of a law enforcement presence.

Get real.

Keel Haul
2015 years 8 months ago

Dollar Divots…just who from LE do you expect to be there? Masonboro Island is in New Hanover County, this accident happened in Pender County. That portion of the river would more likely fall under the jurisdiction of NCWRC or Pender County Sheriff’s (if they even have a marine unit). Do you expect LE to be everywhere at once? They target areas of heavily concentrated boating activity.

Do you similarly blame the SHP for every road fatality?

2015 years 8 months ago

Now we have the first boating death in years from a genuine accident. All LE over at Masonboro, I suppose. All sort of regulations, but no speed limits near parks, homes, boat landings, or dangerous stretches of water.

Guest n2021e
2015 years 8 months ago

I was raised on the NE cape fear near burgaw. River is much narrower up river where we were. This accident didn’t have to happen. Just stay to the right side of the river. No need for additional law enforcement unless people are being reckless. This was just a tragic accident that proper boating would have prevented.

2015 years 8 months ago

What are you talking about Dollar? If you think this is the first local boating accident in years you need to get out more. We had a fatality on the Cape Fear just last Fall. You do have a point about on-water LE. There is little to no budget for it. It isn’t budgeted because people with boats want to do what they want to do without getting in trouble. Many motor boaters want to party hard and drive around like a kid in his first hot rod. Now, if our legislature wanted to hook up their buddies in the insurance industry they could require liability insurance, then you’d see some law enforcement!

2015 years 8 months ago

All WRC was concentrated at Masonboro Island, just saying, the violate 4th Amendment rights jamboree was going on.
I said what I blamed the accident on: Lack of no wake zone and speed limits in dangerous or crowded waters. Said it long before it was reported as cause by neighbors. I boat all these waters for 50+ years.

2015 years 8 months ago

NCWRC was on the river just 45 minutes prior to the accident. They launched at the Castle Hayne ramp and stopped every vessel as they went downstream toward Wilmington for the fireworks and returned to the scene after the collision. Just sayin…

does it matter?
2015 years 8 months ago

My thoughts are with the victim. Another senseless death while boating in this state. It is unfortunate that the operators of the two boats on the NE Cape Fear river.. that their fourth amendment rights didn’t get violated that day. There is the slight possibility a 1.5 minute inspection, or a kind word to be careful and the presence of a friendly LE officer might have saved one life and prevented the horrific injury to the other. What pray tell is unreasonable about a safety inspection to see if there were enough life jackets on board , the boat was registered and safe, or if the operator of either boat was impaired. Just how long of seizure or a detention is that if the operator is not impaired.? Especially as you say if there are only 4 LEOs on the water to police all of Pender and New Hanover County. Certainly 4 or even 10 police officers certainly cant be on every acre of water in Pender and New Hanover Counties, there are no speed limits, there are no lanes, no stop signs, there are warning signs but few operators no them, there are no checkpoints, you can enter this state from any other coastal US state or from any where in the world on the waterways you are talking about… why wouldn’t the local and state officers want to make sure you are not illegal, transporting contraband or illegals or worse, and make sure you have enough mind not to be “out of your mind” behind the wheel of a boat …..safe?
Am I asking the right questions? Are we getting closer to the truth!

Ask your State Legislator if it matters, Do they even care? 21 or more deaths this year? Show me one case in NC where a persons 4th amendment rights were violated and a seizure of person/boater by a local or state LEO, a brief safety inspection was found to be unlawful. And if you change the law…..The victim and more like them will never get checked and more unsafe conditions and more unsafe boat operators will kill more people? Ask your legislator, who is supposed to represent the victims family as well…… Does it matter to him/her that there was no LEOs there on the NE Cape Fear River.? Does it matter that they wouldn’t have even stopped these operators anyway…..for fear they MIGHT be violating the persons 4th amendment rights. There was not a no wake zone, and there is no speed limit. What violation would a LEO have seen to give him a reason to stop the boats…. Does it matter to you? Another family loses a loved one and you are angry because you don’t want to be detained for a minute or two. That answers my question? “Does it matter?” Not to you sir It doesn’t matter in the least. Ask your powerful but misguided friends what they have done to make the waters safer for everybody… other than pay somebody to be the designated drivers of their yachts!
50 plus years boating stopped and checked maybe 3 or 4 times…. spent 30 minutes with the USCG once…. 3 minutes or less with Local or State officials each time you get done so wrong….. Still Alive, just sayin,….How many died at Masonboro that day?….just sayin

Polar Bear
2015 years 8 months ago

Will someone who really knows what happened…who ran into whom, how many boats, people etc. were involved, please post it here. I live on the river close to where this happened. Sure there is a sharp curve but it is a really wide river. So, there are a lot of us that would like to hear the whole Paul Harvey story. Sorry for the loss of life, too. And how many others were injured?

2015 years 8 months ago

“or we could substitute them for river buoys” No thanks the river buoys are dumb enough.

2015 years 8 months ago

That amazing mother of two was killed by two idiot boat operators who both went around a blind bend going way too fast. It wasn’t an accident,fate,karma or act of god. It was negligence pure and simple.

upset that some people are so inconsiderate
2015 years 8 months ago

I am so mad at you for saying that this wasn’t an accident, have you ever been in a car accident? Or had anyone in your family be in one. This is my family and accidents happen. For you to get on here and say the stuff you are is pure stupidity. You, nor, anyone else knows the facts about what happened. So just shut up and let my family members mourn in peace. The lady was a wonderful woman, mother, and friend. The operator of the boat is hanging onto life. Keep your opinions to yourselves until you know all the facts. Even then, think about the children in this situation and think about what you would want your family to read if something ever happened in your family. You don’t know if this minute, today, tomorrow, or next week will be your families turn to go through this. Have some compassion.

lisa parnell-cunningham
2015 years 8 months ago

I happpen to know one of the children of the mother killed. I can only say that I grieve with her in her time of sorrow. My prayers are also with the other injured person(s). You hear about tragic news stories on tv and other media but it never really hit home that “person” they are talking about are real and that families grieve…until it happens to you or someone you care about. May the family find comfort and support from those of us who love and care about them. Be strong.

2015 years 8 months ago

of the cause, this is a mother who has left behind 2 children. Have some sympathy!

It is not our place to criticize what may have happened. Regardless of the situation, the ultimate punishment for the actions was the loss of life!

Jessica Brotherton
2015 years 8 months ago

It only saddens me that residents of this town could talk about an amazing mother of THREE who lost her life as if it meant nothing. This woman just happens to be my mother and a brand new grandmother of my 16 month old son! I am the oldest of her 3 daughters and I can’t believe the things that I am reading. This entire article along with comments are so beyond inaccurate! Please people, when you see stories like this, before you post hurtful comments expressing your incompetence, remember that there are families hurting!