Crews recover wreckage that injured four in Douglas Lake boating accident

Published: Jun. 18, 2018 at 11:17 AM EDT
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An investigation is underway after a Douglas Lake boat crash put four people in the hospital, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Officers said that between 10:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, a 2011 23-foot Mastercraft operated by Brandon Watson, 21, was traveling upstream from Douglas Dam in the area of Harbor Crest Condominiums and Cowboy's Seafood Restaurant when it hit one of the small islands near the TVA Big Island.

Watson along with 21-year-old Blake Dutton, 21-year-old Emily Yow, and 19-year-old Taylor Creech were hurt in the incident and transported to UT Medical Center. Creech was airlifted for serious injuries. The TWRA reported that all are now in stable condition.

WVLT News has learned that three of them are out of the hospital. Creech is still there.

On the shoreline, witnesses told officers they heard the crash and found that the boat ran aground with four people on board, one of which had been ejected.

Records show Watson had passed a TWRA Boating Education Course as required by state law.

"A TWRA Investigator has documented evidence from the boat by using a 3D scanner and officers have released the boat back to the owner who was not involved in the incident," TWRA's Matt Cameron told WVLT News.

TowBoatUS crews took cell phone pictures and videos of workers removing the wreckage Monday.

"We were just praying for a speedy recovery for all of them involved in the wreck," said Master's Captain, Corey Endlsey.

Endlsey's crew remember, Captain Shaun Curtis, said the four of the young adults are lucky to be alive.

"I mean that boat was far up in the trees," said Captain Curtis. "It was a bad wreck."

Workers said the inside of the boat suffered a lot of damage. According to Captain Endsley, "the windshield was busted, the dash was busted and the steering wheel was completely bent forward."

It took TowBoatUS crews at least two ours to complete the salvage operation. Crews faced several challenges.

"It could fall, not only hurt one of us, but it could also do additional damage to the boat," said TowBoatUS owner, William Willison.

The boat now sits in TowBoatUS' garage. Workers there said they are waiting for the owner's insurance adjuster to review the wreckage.

Wildlife officials said the incident remains under investigation.