3 missing, 10 hurt after boat crashes on 2 Alabama lakes

Jul 5, 2019


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Crews that included divers and underwater sonar devices searched Friday for three people who were missing on two Alabama lakes after a pair of holiday boating crashes that left 10 other people injured.

Both crashes happened after dark on July 4 on large reservoirs that are popular destinations for people seeking a break from the summer heat.

Capt. Gary Buchanan, a spokesman for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's Marine Patrol, said searchers including dive teams were trying to locate two people who were missing after boats collided on Lake Jordan, located north of Montgomery. Five other people were hurt, he said, including two who were hospitalized with serious injuries.

It's unclear exactly what happened, but officials said two boats collided.

Crews also resumed searching Friday for one person who was missing after another boating crash on Smith Lake north of Birmingham, Buchanan said. Five people were hurt in that incident, he said, and four of them had to be taken to a hospital for treatment.

Photos from the crash scene showed a rescue boat beside a fiberglass boat overturned in the water.

While skies were clear, high temperatures were forecast in the 90s and Buchanan said the intense heat made conditions worse for searchers, who were concentrated on recovering bodies on the nearly 7,000-acre (2,823-hectare) Lake Jordan rather than finding survivors.

"It works against us because of the stress that puts on the divers and their gear and the search teams that are out there in the sun and the heat," Buchanan said.

Smith Lake covers about 21,000 acres (8,498 hectares).