A 17-year-old high school student who was to begin his senior year this fall died in a boat accident on a canal in Coral Springs recently. The youth and a 19-year-old companion were tubing on the canal and were being towed by a 20-year-old friend’s Aquasport motorboat.
The accident occurred near a boat ramp on the 50-foot wide canal, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The tube on which the two boys were riding struck some rocks adjacent to the shore. The 17-year-old died of his injuries, while his companion suffered non-fatal injuries for which he was treated and released, according to reports.
An investigation into the accident ruled out alcohol as a factor. Storms in the area, according to the father of the surviving tube rider, had made the water level in the canal rise, hiding the rocks. He also expressed the opinion that the canal was too narrow for tube riding.
Statistics show that boats pulling tubes were involved in 20 accidents in Florida last year. A study of 11,000 tubing accidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2007 indicated that the resulting injuries can be more serious than those resulting from water-skiing.
That study, conducted by scientists at the University of Alabama, indicated that injuries from tubing accidents were approximately 2.5 times more likely to require hospitalization, as compared to water-skiing injuries.
Because of this, the authors recommend that tube riders use helmets, since head injuries appear to be prevalent in tubing accidents. They further recommended that tube riders be pulled at lower rates of speed. Hopefully that will prevent tragic accidents such as this one.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “How tube ride turned fatal for J.P. Taravella senior could take months to determine,” Linda Trischitta, Aug. 22, 2011