5 dead in two boat collision in Georgia


On Sunday, authorities said they had recovered the bodies of three people missing after two boats collided the day before in Georgia, bringing the death toll to five. The US Coast Guard said four others were rescued on Saturday.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said in a statement that two deaths were confirmed on Saturday.

Georgia DNR said several agencies searched for the three missing victims using “segment survey sonar and divers.” Georgia DNR said the three missing victims were identified Sunday morning at about 9 a.m. in waters 14 feet deep and in close proximity to each other.

The authorities identified the dead as Christopher David Leffler, 51; Lori Lynn Leffler, 50; Zachary James Leffler, 23 years old; Nathan Leffler, 17 years old; and Robert Stephen Chauncey, 37.

Georgia DNR reported Sunday that Mark Christopher Stegal, 45, was arrested for boating while under the influence.

In a statement, Georgia DNR said witnesses said the collision occurred when “two boats in the center console with nine passengers on board, six in one vessel and three in the other, collided in opposite directions when they collided.”

The Georgia department said the other four people were rescued and taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. The coast guard said one person was in “good condition”. No other information was available about their injuries. According to a video released by the Coast Guard, a person with an apparently injured leg was pulled out of the water by a helicopter.

The collision occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. “on the Wilmington River near the docks of the Outland Island Wildlife Center where Richardson Creek and the Wilmington River meet in Chatham County,” according to Georgia DNN. The Coast Guard said it was notified of the crash by a Jade Samaritan at 10:42 a.m.

The Coast Guard, DNR, Chatham County Marine Patrol, Savannah Fire and Chatham Emergency Services are assisting in the search for lost boats.

Georgia DNR is investigating the incident.