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Runaway boat on LBJ injures several

A pontoon boat ran aground at a popular sandbar on Lake LBJ, injuring several people. A Kingsland man was arrested and charged with reckless operation and excessive speed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens. (This courtesy photo was shared with DailyTrib.com with the boat's hull identification number blacked out.)

Several people were hurt after a runaway pontoon boat on Lake LBJ collided with other boats on Saturday, June 1. The boat’s operator reportedly fell overboard, but his vessel remained under power, allowing it to plow forward. It came aground on a popular sandbar.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens arrested James Dossat of Kingsland on charges of reckless operation and excessive speed. According to a DailyTrib.com records search, the boat is registered to Riverside Barge and Marine dredging contractors in Kingsland.

Witnesses reported seeing the boat’s operator fall overboard, according to a TPWD media release. The boat came to a stop on the popular Lake LBJ sandbar near the convergence of the Llano and Colorado rivers in Kingsland. 

One victim was transported to an Austin hospital, two people were taken to local hospitals, and several others were injured but did not require hospitalization, according to officials.

Granite Shoals Fire Chief Tim Campbell was on the scene of the incident and told DailyTrib.com that witnesses said the boat’s captain seat broke and the driver tumbled into the water. The craft’s engine continued to run, sending it straight for the sandbar, other boats, and sunbathers.

“If there would have been a family there, children in the water, it could have been a lot worse than what it was,” Campbell said.

Boaters are required by law to have an ignition safety kill switch whenever their vessel is moving at speed. This switch is often attached to the operator by a cord that, if pulled away, will cut power to the boat. In this instance, a kill switch should have cut power to the pontoon after the boat’s operator fell overboard. Officials have not released information about the status of a kill switch on the errant watercraft.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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