Multiple agencies - including IN conservation officers, the Steuben County Sheriff's Department and Parkview Samaritan helicopter - responded to Lake Gage about 7:15 p.m. Saturday on reports that several people were IN the water with serious injuries, the news release said.
The 21-foot boat ran amok in Lake Gage at about 30 miles per hour after the operator and nine others were thrown yesterday.
Conservation Officer Jake Carlile launched a DNR Boston Whaler patrol boat as Steuben County Sheriff's Deputies alerted residents on the shore to move their docked boats and clear the area as the unmanned boat circled by the shoreline at speed nearing closer to boats and docks with each pass.
Four people suffered serious injuries including a fractured skull, while another had to have part of their lower arm amputated. CO Carlile was able to use a nearby personal watercraft and jump onto the runaway boat while both boats were still in motion.
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Police arrested Effinger and charged the 20-year-old with Boating While Intoxicated and with possessing alcohol as a minor, according to a press release.
In the video footage of the accident, the unmanned boat can be seen circling around at a high speed after throwing off people as conservation officers try to get control of it. Alcohol was a factor in the crash, they said. Its impact with the patrol boat slows it down enough for an officer to hop aboard and bring it to a stop.
The boat, a Correct Craft Ski Ski Nautique, was traveling at around 30mph when it threw the passengers off. It indicated Effinger was operating the boat. Carlile was able to wrangle the boat, but it struck a pier and then rear-ended Carlile's boat.
Several seriously injured people were immediately taken to shore by people on other boats so emergency responders could tend to the injuries, the release said.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.