Two Boating Accidents; One Fatal, One Serious

ANNAPOLIS (August 18, 2011) - The Natural Resources Police are investigating two boating accidents that occurred Thursday.

The first accident occurred at 1:20 p.m. on the Marshyhope Creek, near Federalsburg. NRP’s investigation revealed that John Miller, 63, of Bridgeville, Delaware was fishing by himself on a 16-foot vessel. Miller was thrown overboard when the vessel surge forward after he started his outboard engine with the motor in gear and the throttle wide open. Miller was struck two or three times by the boat and motor as the vessel circled around him. Eventually, Miller was able to swim out of the path of the circling vessel and was retrieved by a Good Samaritan vessel. Miller was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical center with propeller injuries to his head, neck and arms.

The fatal accident occurred at 3:41 p.m. in the Chesapeake Bay just south of the fishing pier at North Beach in Calvert County. NRP’s investigation revealed William Thomas Cole, 42, of North Beach, was operating a 10-foot personal watercraft. Witnesses stated that Cole was jumping waves with the vessel when he was knocked off by the waves. Cole yelled for assistance and then was covered by breaking waves. Coles was then observed unconscious on the water. The sea condition at the time of the accident was 2-3 foot waves and winds estimated at 15 to 20 knots.

Cole was picked up by the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department and transported to Calvert Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Cole was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident. Cole’s body is transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy. NRP’s Special Operations Division is continuing the investigation into the accident.

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