1 dead, 5 hurt in Coast Guard boat collision in SD

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2009 2:14 AM

A 33-foot Coast Guard vessel and a recreational boat collided Sunday as a Christmas watercraft parade was going on in San Diego Bay, killing an 8-year-old boy and seriously injuring five people, authorities said.

No one aboard the Coast Guard patrol boat was hurt in the crash just before 6 p.m., and everyone on the recreational craft was accounted for, said Fire Department spokesman Maurice Luque.

Authorities have not released details on how the accident occurred, but it came just after sundown in clear weather with light winds.

The injured were rushed to University of California, San Diego Hospital, where the boy was declared dead, Luque said.

Five others were treated for serious injuries.

"They're all considered major traumas," Luque said, but had no further details on the nature of the injuries.

No names were released, nor were the ages of the injured victims.

Neither boat was participating in the parade, said Ron Sheehan, spokesman for the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, in which more than 80 vessels festooned with Christmas lights and decorations cruise through the bay.

Many boats full of spectators filled the bay to watch the parade and fireworks. But the Coast Guard did not say if the recreational boat was among them or how close the accident occurred to the parade area.

The parade's Web site said an estimated 80,000 people were expected to attend the last of eight nights of the parade Sunday, which also featured a fireworks show.

The 87-foot Coast Guard cutter Haddock had been scheduled to lead the parade, which was supposed to begin about the same time as the accident, but was called away to the collision scene.

The parade otherwise continued as planned, Sheehan said.

Paramedics took the child victim to a fuel dock at Harbor Island then taken by ambulance to the hospital, and the five injured adults were taken by boat to Shelter Island, then by ambulance to the hospital.

The Coast Guard patrol boat was responding to a report of a grounded vessel at the time of the collision, spokeswoman Jetta Disco said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, she said. It was not clear how fast either boat was traveling.

Both boats returned to shore and were being assessed for damages, Disco said. The size and type of civilian boat were not released.

The weather was clear with light winds at the time of the crash.

San Diego Harbor Police and the San Diego Fire Department assisted in the rescue efforts, said Coast Guard Lt. Josh Nelson.