Sea conditions were excellent at midafternoon on a clear day Wednesday off Greenwich, Conn., on Long Island Sound when a 16-year-old girl was killed and another teenage girl was injured when they were run over by a boat, according to authorities.
The two girls had been riding on a tube towed by a small powerboat and came in contact with its propeller, although investigators have not determined how that occurred, police told the Hartford Courant.
As of Wednesday night, officials had not released the names of those involved, but police said all four were 16 and students at Greenwich High School, and they were friends. As of this morning, officials had not said whether the driver had a boating license. Watch for a follow-up report in Trade Only Today on Friday.
The Greenwich Time reported that the boat towing the girls “suddenly stopped, causing the riders to crash into the propeller.”
"It's a tragic sequence of events. The girls were out having a good time," Greenwich police Lt. Kraig Gray told the newspaper.
"Our launch driver heard the screams, so he went out to investigate and found the girls in the water," Tom Drake, the club's commodore, told the newspaper. "He was the first responder. He's the one who called 911. He brought them back to the dock."
"I was shocked and scared, because it was four high schoolers. They could be my friends, especially the one passed, it's just scary," Matthew Lanagan, a student, told New York TV station WABC.
The Greenwich Time had a photographer at the dock when the boat and girls were brought in, and the newspaper posted 35 photographs of the scene.
In a report by The New York Times, however, Ian Macmillan, the town’s harbormaster, said it appeared that the two girls fell out of the innertube and into the water before the accident and the propeller struck them when the boat circled back to pick them up.
“This is a shock and a surprise to all of us,” Macmillan said. “It was a beautiful day — perfect conditions. Then out of the blue, something horrific happened.