High winds contribute to fatal boat accident on Sprague Lake

Published On: May 22 2013 12:13:28 AM PDT

One person has died and a second person has been transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane with unknown injuries following a boat accident on Sprague Lake, 41 miles southwest of Spokane Tuesday afternoon.

A 50-year-old man and a woman were out fishing on the lake in a small aluminum fishing boat when they suffered some sort of mishap. Eyewitnesses say there were strong winds and waves up to two-feet high on the lake; winds in the area were gusting up to 37 mph Tuesday afternoon.

"The wind kicked up and they were taken suddenly by the wind and were unable to overcome the wind by the boat and somehow they ended up in the water," Scott Clemenson with Lincoln County Fire District One said.

Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, paramedics rushed to the lake to find a 50-year-old man still in the water. They pulled him out, tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful. A woman was able to get out of the water okay.

The woman was reportedly conscious and alert when she was transported to Sacred Heart.

"Unfortunately we see another grim reminder this year, we've had it many times in the past, similar type incidents," Clemenson said.

Just after 6 p.m. deputies were able to find and tow the boat to the shoreline. They'll now inspect the boat to figure out exactly what happened. Deputies don't believe the couple were wearing life jackets.

"It's absolutely imperative that people have their proper life jackets and actually wear them and be prepared for the conditions that may change so rapidly," Clemenson said.

For people itching to get their boats out of the garage and on the water, officials want to warn you to be safe no matter where you launch your boat.

"We do in the springtime often times find folks who get taken by surprise by the weather, people get excited to get out and enjoy the recreation and that recreation can turn tragic very quickly without proper precautions," Clemenson said.