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Keego Harbor

WB children die in boating incident, sibling remains hospitalized

July 15, 2013

An 11-year-old West Bloomfield boy and his 6-year-old sister died after being struck by a boat July 14, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and the Keego Harbor Police Department. Their 10-year-old sister is in critical condition.

The fatal boating incident happened at around 12:30 p.m. on Sylvan Lake.

According to the press release, a 40-year-old West Bloomfield father was towing his son and daughters, ages 6 and 10, on a raft behind his jet ski heading north to south on the lake when the 56-year-old Sylvan Lake driver of the boat, travelling west to east, collided with the raft.

According to the press release, the 56-year-old man told authorities that he saw the jet ski pass in front of him, but he “never saw the raft being pulled until he collided with it.”

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor, according to the Keego Harbor Police Department and the Sheriff's Office. 

The sister remained in critical condition at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital as of 10:45 a.m. July 14.

Sylvan Lake resident Haley Cassar, 28, was doing yard work at her house near the south end of the city when she saw the incident unfold.

“Before you knew it, I saw a boat that hit the tube head-on,” Cassar said. “Where I was, the boat was coming at my direction and … I just saw the boat run straight over the tube, and it made a really loud noise. It sounded like a car crash.”

Cassar said the lakes were “pretty empty” around that time.

“All you heard was a man screaming, ‘No, no no…’” the lifelong Sylvan resident said. “I was hysterical. These children that were killed… it is so heartbreaking to even think that. … It is hard to describe it. On the water is so much different. The perspective is so much different. What if I had kids? What if that happened to one of my kids?”

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