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Old 12-10-2002, 01:26 AM
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Old 12-10-2002, 01:51 AM
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Just a few weeks ago........

Teen Missing After Accident

By Margarita Martin-Hidalgo
The Ledger

[email protected]

LAKELAND -- Polk County deputies searched Lake Gibson late Sunday for a 15-year-old Lakeland boy who was tossed into the water when two personal watercraft collided, a Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman said Sunday.

Sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilder said investigators think Brad Hicks died in the accident.

As deputies searched Lake Gibson, dozens of family members and friends, many from Calvary Baptist Church, kept vigil. Some huddled in groups, wrapped in shawls and blankets on the chilly afternoon.

Several friends declined to comment for this story, saying it was a very difficult time for the family.

The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, just minutes after Hicks and his friend, David Norwood, 13, were dropped off at the boat ramp on Lake Gibson Park Road. Hicks' father, Daryl Hicks, took the boys for an afternoon outing after attending church and having lunch, Wilder said.

Norwood didn't require medical treatment and was able to give detectives an account of what happened. He told investigators that Hicks' Kawasaki 1100 Jet Ski veered into the path of Norwood's Yamaha Water Venture and the two boys were knocked off when the two watercraft collided, Wilder said.

At the time, Hicks was traveling at a relatively low speed, Wilder said.

Neither of the boys was wearing a life jacket, as is required by state law, Wilder said.

Hicks, a student at Lakeland Christian School, didn't make it to shore, Wilder said.

Norwood swam to shore and alerted a woman who lives in a lakefront house about what had happened. The woman immediately called 911. Wilder said she told detectives she came to the rear of her home after she saw Norwood swimming near her house.

When Daryl Hicks realized what had happened, he jumped into the lake to try to rescue his son, Wilder said. But Hicks didn't find his son.

One of the watercraft, the Yamaha, continued to spin in circles after the impact. It had minor damages to the bottom of the craft.

Hicks' Kawasaki was damaged in the steering wheel area, said Wilder.

"It looks like it's totaled to me, inoperable," he said.

Sheriff's deputies, Lakeland police and Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were at the lake, and searchers were focusing on an area about 200 yards from the Lake Gibson Park Road boat ramp. Wilder said the water is about 4 feet to 8 feet deep in that area.

State law says boaters between the ages of 14 and 21 can operate personal watercraft if they complete a boating safety course, Wilder said. He didn't know whether the boys had taken the course.

Margarita Martin-Hildago can be reached at [email protected] or 863-294-4639.
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Old 12-10-2002, 02:22 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Indiana
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A crab fisherman found Zak Lukas and Jason Lewis, both 16 and from Brooksville, in the water near the Polaris watercraft that carried them into the gulf Saturday afternoon. Investigators found part of a crab trap stuck in the water intake manifold, which likely disabled the engine.

Jordan said Sunday morning that what killed the teens is under investigation, but no foul play is suspected.

The Hernando County Medical Examiner's Office was determining the exact cause of death, but hypothermia, an extreme chilling of the body, was suspected.

Authorities were unsure when or how the teens became separated from the watercraft.

Jordan said the water temperatures was around 60 degrees and the teens were wearing only wearing swim trunks and life vests.

According to hypothermia charts, which estimate how long an average person can survive in water, the teens would likely have survived as long as six hours in the water, if they remained still. Swimming or moving only hastens the loss of body heat and the onset of hypothermia.

Jordan said commission investigators would examine exactly what happened to the watercraft.

The vehicle, registered to Lukas' mother, had water inside it, which could have swamped it, said, authorities said. Pasco Sheriff's Lt. Skip Stone said watercraft such the one the teens were on are designed not to sink completely, but they become difficult to sit on or control when they are swamped

Fighting hypothermia
In addition to wearing a life jacket, the U.S. Coast Guard recommends these tactics to fight hypothermia in the water:

Get as much of your body out of the water as possible. If your vessel has capsized, get on top of it. The body will cool as much as 30 times faster in the water than out of it.

If you are by yourself, keep your arms close to your chest, with your legs crossed and pulled up protecting the groin area.

If you are with someone, huddle together to share body heat.

Unless conditions are favorable and you are close to shore or a vessel, do not attempt to swim. Stay as still as possible. Swimming increases heat loss by 35 percent to 40 percent.

Stay with your vessel. It is always easier to see a boat in the water than a person's head.

-- Source: U.S. Coast Guard
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Old 12-10-2002, 08:17 AM
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This is terrible it will never be better, my heart felt sympathy goes to the family very very sorry for their loss
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Old 12-10-2002, 10:12 AM
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that sucks
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Old 12-10-2002, 10:38 AM
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I have a couple of ski's and my 17 year old nephew and 16 year old neice ran over a ski rope in the bay behind my parents house and the ski started to sink. When the rope gets wedged really tight in the prop shaft it breaks the cheap poorly made stuffing box. Water was pooring in and it would have sunk in minutes. A neighbor was also skiing and towed them in before it happened. This was in August not December. I think this may have happened to the boys up in Hudson. One thing our kids have been taught is never go out in the Gulf with only one ski, those damn things always find a way to break. Very sad for the parents of these boys.
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