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3 dead, 5 injured in evening boat crash north of Kingston

Three people are dead and five others injured in what police are calling a “horrible” collision involving two boats on a lake north of Kingston, Ont. 

Ontario Provincial Police say the crash happened in the Buck Bay area of Bobs Lake after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. It involved “an open bow fishing-style boat” and a speedboat, they said.

Emergency crews from surrounding regions, along with the 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Trenton, responded to the call around 9:45 p.m.

OPP said two of those who died, a 21-year-old woman and a 23-year old man, were from South Frontenac Township. The third was a 22-year-old woman from Elginburg, Ont., just outside Kingston.

All three were pronounced dead at the scene, OPP said.

Five other people aged between 21 to 44 were taken to hospital in Kingston with a range of injuries. One of the patients was airlifted.

A man in a black OPP shirt stands in front of a building and frowns.
Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson Bill Dickson speaks to media outside the OPP detachment in Smiths Falls, Ont., on May 19, 2024. (Camille Kasisi-Monet/Radio-Canada)

Police said they found other people at the scene who’d been on the boats, but they didn’t need to be hospitalized.

“It’s a horrible situation. There were still people in the water when first responders arrived,” OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson said in a video update on X.

Frontenac OPP are investigating with help from a collision reconstructionist and members of the technical collision investigation team.

Bobs Lake is about 70 kilometres north of Kingston. People have been asked to avoid the area.

‘Very terrible, very tragic’

Anna McMillan was at home nearby when the crash happened, and said she’d never seen that many first responders descend on one place before in her life.

“I did not know what was going on [but I] figured it was something very terrible, very tragic,” she said.

McMillan said she recognized the “very nice” speedboat involved in the crash, and that one of the boaters had tooted his horn and waved at her from the lake earlier that day.

“I hope he’s OK. We don’t know anything, really. But it’s just tragic and sad how fast something like that can happen,” she said. 

“It’s a long weekend. It’s supposed to be a happy time, a fun time. It’s a beautiful, gorgeous day — but there’s a damper on everything because of the incident. Just very sad.”

The crash happened an hour after sunset, something boating instructor Craig Hamilton said increases safety risk. 

“When you’re operating at night, certainly it’s a lot harder to pick out images,” he said.

“[Boaters] have to understand that it is not just their own lives, but it’s the lives of other people that they’re responsible for.”

A black-and-white police truck with some sort of trailer attached to the back is parked in front of a lake on a sunny day.
An Ontario Provincial Police vehicle is parked near the shore of Bobs Lake on Sunday. (Camille Kasisi-Monet/Radio-Canada)

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