An 11-year-old Tattnall County girl was critically injured Sunday on Lake Sinclair after the rubberized tube she and others were riding in behind a pontoon boat was hit by another boat, authorities say.
The girl was flown by helicopter to a Macon hospital and later transferred to a hospital in Atlanta.
The victim was identified as Tylee Miles of Glennville, according to Sgt. Bo Kelly, a game warden with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.
“She sustained multiple lacerations and broken bones down her right leg where she apparently went under the boat and was struck by the propeller,” Kelly told The Union-Recorder in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.
Kelly said the girl “was extremely lucky to be alive,” because most accidents involving boat propellers end in death.
The veteran game warden reported that the girl’s mother had posted on Facebook that her daughter actually sustained a broken right femur and a broken right ankle.
Kelly said the accident happened as two pontoons were coming at each other in what is known as The Junction, which is the main hub of the lake, east of U.S. Highway 441 at the mouth of the Oconee River and Little River.
“The one pontoon coming at the pontoon towing the tube somehow struck the tube that caused the injuries to the victim,” Kelly said.
He said it was unclear on Monday afternoon whether there will be charges filed in connection with the accident.
“Right now, the accident is still under investigation and it could take up to a week to figure everything out,” Kelly said.
The names of those piloting the vessels have not been disclosed pending a complete investigation into the accident.
“Alcohol is not suspected at this point and time in the investigation,” Kelly said.
Asked if speed played a role in the accident, Kelly said he couldn’t really say at this time since that was part of the investigation.
“This happened in an area of the lake that is very busy with a lot of people going back and forth in boats,” Kelly said. “We’re just going to have to put all this together and see where the fault lies.”
The accident is being jointly investigated by DNR Game Warden Erin McDade and Game Warden Kevin Hurley.
The girl was initially taken to Sinclair Marina where she received medical attention from firefighters/first responders with Baldwin County Fire Rescue and personnel with Grady Emergency Medical Services.
She was later flown by an Air-Evac helicopter in Milledgeville to The Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon for treatment. She was transferred from that hospital to The Children’s Health Care in Atlanta, where she remained Monday afternoon.