Officials reported a tragic incident that occurred at the Michindoh Conference Center on Lake Michindoh in Hillsdale County, where a young girl was hit and killed by a boat after falling from an inflatable tube on Wednesday.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a 25-year-old lifeguard from the conference center was driving a boat that pulled a banana boat, which is an inflatable tube that is pulled by a motorized boat, with 12 children on it. All the children on the boat were wearing life jackets and helmets. A 29-year-old woman was also on the boat as a “spotter,” watching the children.
As the ride went on, several children fell from the tube into the water. Initially, the spotter saw three children in the water. However, when the lifeguard returned to pick up the children, the boat hit a fourth child, an 11-year-old girl who had not previously been seen in the water.
The man operating the boat immediately jumped into the water to help the child, but the girl was already badly injured. She was taken to Hillsdale County Hospital, where she later died from her injuries.
The man operating the boat has a Michigan boater safety certificate, and the boat was the only vessel operating on the lake when the incident occurred. Officials stated that alcohol and drugs were not involved and the weather was favorable for boating.
The names of those involved are not being released until the ongoing investigation is complete. The DNR was assisted at the scene by the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, North Adam Fire Department, and Reading Emergency Unit.
“This is a tragic situation for all involved, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the young girl,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Our officers and first responders are working diligently to investigate this incident and provide the family with answers they deserve.”