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2 girls hurt, 1 of them critical, after Lake Wylie watercraft crash

Public information officer Trent Faris and Sgt. Ed Ware of the York County Sheriff's Office lake patrol meet with boaters at Buster Boyd Access Area on Lake Wylie in this 2016 Herald file photo.
Public information officer Trent Faris and Sgt. Ed Ware of the York County Sheriff's Office lake patrol meet with boaters at Buster Boyd Access Area on Lake Wylie in this 2016 Herald file photo.

Two girls were hurt after the personal watercraft they were riding on Lake Wylie late Monday slammed into a retaining wall, officials said.

Both victims had serious injuries, said said Lt. Shean Coates of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. One of the two had injuries that are considered critical and remains in intensive care, Coates said Tuesday.

Both juvenile girls were rescued from the water in the boating incident, Coates said. The names and ages of the girls were not available. Both were transported to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte for medical treatment, Coates said.

The incident happened around 6:15 p.m. in the Big Allison Creek inlet, near the Allison Creek boat landing on the western side of the lake, Coates said.

Anyone under age 16, to legally operate a personal watercraft in South Carolina, must have completed a state boater education course, Coates said. Investigators have been told both girls completed the class, Coates said.

Family members, other boaters and EMS workers who responded had pulled the girls from the water by the time law enforcement officials with DNR's lake patrol arrived, Coates said.

The retaining wall is made of concrete and rock. It remains unclear why the girls crashed into the wall, Coates said.

"The watercraft hit the wall and we are investigating what happened and why," Coates said.

DNR officials are leading a multi-agency investigation that is continuing Tuesday. Investigators are trying to see if the onboard computer system will show the speed of the watercraft at the time of impact, Coates said.

Storm warnings had been issued about potentially impending severe weather, but the weather at the time of the incident does not appear to be a factor, Coates said.

The weather was a factor in requiring the most seriously injured victim to be taken to the hospital by ambulance, not by helicopter, Coates said.

Newport firefighters, York County Sheriff's Office deputies, Piedmont Medical Center EMS crews and Carolina Dive and Rescue responded, said Trish Startup, York County spokesperson.

The incident was the third in three days on Lake Wylie requiring emergency responders. The lake straddles the state lines of South Carolina and North Carolina.

Emergency officials responded to a drowning in Lake Wylie in York County late Friday in Tega Cay. In that incident a boy, 3, died after being found in the lake, according to Tega Cay police and the York County Coroner's Office..

On Saturday, a Charlotte man died after drowning in an incident on the North Carolina side of the lake. York County emergency officials assisted in the rescue effort and search, officials said.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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