Candlewood boating accident injures three
Exactly one year to the day after a two-boat collision that killed two men and injured three others on July 19, 2008, another boating accident on Candlewood Lake sent three people to the hospital with serious injuries.
A 24-foot cabin cruiser piloted by a Bethel man ran aground early Sunday morning at Candlewood Lake in New Milford. The accident occurred between 2 and 3 a.m. along the shore of Vaughn's Neck, near the northern end of the lake.
Two of the men, identified by state Department of Environmental Protection police as Thomas Asheton, 35, of Bethel, and Kevin Foster, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, were transported to Danbury Hospital and reported in fair condition.
DEP police Capt. Raul Camejo said the boat was headed south on the black-as-oil lake when it struck rocks along the shore of Vaughn's Neck.
The blue-and-white striped craft was perched upon a boulder, partially out of the water, with a one side ripped open by a large tree limb. New Milford firefighters from Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2 and emergency medical services personnel had to extricate one of the victims, who was trapped by crumpled fiberglass, Capt. Camejo said.
Rescuers transported two of the victims to an improvised landing zone at New Milford High School, where LifeStar helicopters took one of the men to Waterbury and the second to Danbury. The third victim was taken by ambulance to Danbury Hospital, he said.
New Milford police received a cell phone call reporting the accident at 3 a.m., and firefighters could be heard on police scanners asking the victims to flash the lights of the boat so they could locate the stricken craft along the darkened shore.
Capt. Camejo couldn't estimate the speed of the cabin cruiser when it hit the rock, and said a DEP boating accident reconstruction team was in the process of reconstructing the crash to determine what had happened. As part of the investigation, Environmental Conservation Police will also seek to determine what the three men were doing up to 24 hours before it happened.
Unlike last year's two-boat collision, which killed 35-year-old Theodore Layton Jr. of New Milford, and 28-year-old Jason Wanat of West Redding, and injured three others, Sunday's accident involved only one boat.
The 2008 crash, which also occurred in the early morning hours, took place farther south. Mr. Layton's boat, which was headed north, collided with a boat containing two New York men participating in a bass fishing tournament.
DEP investigators eventually determined the speed of Mr. Layton's boat and alcohol consumption by him had been major contributing factors in that crash.
DEP workers later Sunday towed the grounded cruiser to Gerard's marina, where it was loaded on a truck and taken to a state facility for further examination.