[size=6]STAY IN THE CHANNEL!!![/size]

[SIZE=5]Angler recovering from boat crash injury [/SIZE]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

FAIRDEALING, Ky. — An Indiana fisherman remains in stable condition in a Louisville hospital, undergoing surgery for injuries he received in a boating accident on Kentucky Lake last week.

Kevin D. Vires, 45, of Greensburg, Ind., reportedly is undergoing bone grafting at the University of Louisville Hospital for a seriously cut and broken arm that he suffered when the speeding bassboat he was piloting Thursday off the western shore of Kentucky Lake slammed into an underwater stump.

Vires was driving a 20-foot Triton powered by a 225-horsepower outboard owned by fishing partner Curtis Dunaway, also of Greensburg, during practice for the Indiana-based tournament circuit U.S.A. Bassin’ Classic championship. The lower unit of the engine apparently hit the stump.

Dunaway, riding in the passenger seat at the time of the collision, said he and Vires were traveling north near the mouth of Jonathan Creek and near Jonathan Island at “between 50 and 60 miles per hour” when they apparently strayed from the channel and struck the obstacle.

Dunaway said the force of the impact sheared the outboard from its motor mounts, and the engine — perhaps 600 pounds, he said — was launched from the transom, swinging upward and forward on its control cables and crashing into the boat, much of the weight falling on Vires.

Vires’ injury — a laceration that initially appeared a threat to cost him his arm — apparently was the result of the still-running engine’s flywheel striking him. The flywheel was exposed as the cowling was knocked off the engine in the impact that sheared it from the transom.

Other fishermen on the lake came to their aid, one pair of anglers rushing the seriously hurt Vires to a nearby resort to which an ambulance was summoned by cell phone. Other anglers followed, bringing to shore Dunaway, who escaped all but minor scratches and bruising.

“The rear pedestal seat saved my life,” Dunaway said. “The shaft was bent from where it deflected the motor as it flew toward me.”

Vires was taken by ambulance to Marshall County Hospital, then airlifted by helicopter to the University of Louisville Hospital.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources investigated the crash. No charges were filed.