Jet Ski Accident Highlights Safety Concerns

By: Lisa Blackwell Email
By: Lisa Blackwell Email

An accident late Sunday on the Chattahoochee River landed one man in the hospital.

Stephen Hightower was thrown from his jet ski and sustained critical injuries.

Officials say it's an important reminder to the public about Jet Ski safety.

For many people, Jet Ski’s are a fun way to get around on the water.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials say more and more of these popular recreational vehicles are appearing on the Chattahoochee River. They say with an increase in use, comes an increase in accidents.

Corporal Terri Jones, with the GA Department of Natural Resources said, “We see them colliding with each other; they get out there and they play and kinda’ spray each other, flip the water on the back of each other, slide into each other. Had them run into skiers, run into boats, we've had them, like this one hit the bank from riding too close to the banks.”

There is a law in place in Georgia to try to help prevent people from accidentally running up on shore.

“We have the Hundred Foot Law for that very reason, because once you lose power from these, there's no way to steer them,” Jones added.

Law enforcement would like to remind jet skiers to use caution when operating wave runners on the river.

“Use common sense,” Jones says. “I mean, these things are like motorcycles on water. We do have a law that you have to have a life jacket on, security fastener, a lanyard, which goes to a kill switch, so if you're thrown off, you can swim back to it and get back on it.”

Officials say just following a few pre-cautionary measures can help you land safely on shore instead of in the emergency room.

Officials say the exact cause of Sunday’s accident is still under investigation.

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