Teen Loses Part of Leg in Lakeland Jet Ski Accident
Easter Sunday, April 24, a 14-year-old teenager’s leg was partially amputated during a jet ski accident on Lake Gibson in Lakeland. Bay News 9 reports two teenage girls, ages 14 and 15, were on WaveRunners driving side by side when one of the teens turned into the side of the other watercraft and right over the seat section, amputating a portion of the rider’s leg below the knee. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to the scene of Lake Gibson and said it happened around 2:30 p.m. about 150 yards offshore.
Our condolences go out to the young girl for this tragic accident.
Jet skis do not have brakes and as a result there are inherent risks involved in their operation. Once the forward movement is stopped, they become difficult to steer. According to state law, an operator can be over the age of 14 only if they have taken and completed a state sponsored boater safety education program. The story says neither of the girls had taken the mandatory course. As a result, the FWC will forward information onto the State Attorney’s office which could file charges. Another 15-year-old died on Lake Gibson in 2002 when one WaveRunner collided with another and he drowned.
Under maritime law, the WaveRunner rental company can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor if the person instructing the personal watercraft renters had not taken an approved boater safety course. The Florida boating accident lawyers at Farah & Farah believe a further inquiry should be conducted into the rental company to determine if it followed all of the state statutes that govern personal watercraft.