Girl, 7, dies after being hit by personal watercraft

Posted at 6:20 AM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 06:20:42-04

SHASTA LAKE, CA (KHSL/CNN) – A 7-year-old girl was killed Saturday after getting hit by a person on a watercraft, marking the third child’s death in the California lake this summer.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office says the 7-year-old was swimming behind a house boat on Shasta Lake Saturday.

Deputies say Phong Ly, 29, was driving a rented personal watercraft at unsafe speeds when he hit the girl and the boat.

The girl was rushed to the hospital but later died from her injuries.

The 7-year-old’s death is the third child’s death on Shasta Lake this summer.

In just a single week in early July, 12-year-old Auston Strole and 7-year-old Julian Zamora both died on the lake, and other non-fatal accidents have occurred.

Regulars at the lake say accidents like the one on Saturday seem to be on the rise, partly because many boaters don’t follow safety rules.

"I think it's overlooked just because you know, boating is fun, the lake, everyone's having a good time,” regular lake-goer Jake Mires said.

Veteran boaters say it’s important to always be careful and aware of your surroundings.

"You have to have someone who's alert and knows what they're doing out there,” Mires said.

Regular Jeff Lahr says he’s been going boating on the lake for more than 50 years. He says this year he’s seen many problems on the water.

He believes the extra crowds this year may be a contributing factor, and it may be time to mandate a license or training program to keep the lake safer.

"I think that's probably a pretty good idea, you know, because there's so many more people boating now and stuff,” Lahr said.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office says the girl’s death is still under investigation.

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