Boat driver flees scene after crashing into channel marker

A boating accident in Palm Beach County last weekend illustrates the dangers of drinking and boating.

A 21-year-old man reportedly fled the scene after piloting a boat into an illuminated channel marker. The boat accident left one of his passengers with a severe head injury.

The man was reportedly operating a 23-foot boat on the Intracoastal Waterway when the accident occurred. The driver apparently fled on foot and was not located within 24 hours. He was wanted for questioning. It was not clear if he was injured. According to an article on tcpalm.com, the man’s parents were unaware of his whereabouts or that the accident had occurred.

There were a total of five passengers on the boat. The most severely injured man, who is 26, was flown via helicopter to St. Mary Medical Center with a head injury. Another passenger, also in his twenties, sustained minor injuries.

According to sources, police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash, which occurred in the evening hours. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the operator of the boat was not the owner. It reportedly kept the boat and its contents as evidence during an ongoing investigation.

The FWC posted a reminder on its website on Thursday to stay safe over the Memorial Day weekend, which is the unofficial beginning of the summer boating season. According to the site, driver inattention is one of the biggest factors in causing boating accidents. 18 people have died in boating accidents in Florida so far in 2011.

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