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Collision on Black Hawk Lake Sunday sends two teens to the hospital

  • 6/13/2023 1:11:00 PM
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A collision between a personal watercraft (PWC) and a pontoon Sunday afternoon at Black Hawk Lake sent two Harlan teenagers to the hospital.

The pontoon, operated by Charles Lierman, 75, of Ankeny, was traveling an estimated 15 miles per hour (MPH), pulling three grandkids on a tube and was in the process of making a sweeping left turn when Lierman saw the PWC coming from his left. He corrected to the right to try to avoid the collision.

The PWC was heading east across the lake at approximately 40 MPH when the operator, Averie Thometz, 16, of Harlan, saw the pontoon, and let off the throttle. A PWC is jet-driven meaning when it’s throttled down, the steering doesn’t work.

The PWC collided with the front port side pontoon and Thometz and passenger Dakota Goede, 17, of Harlan, were ejected, hitting the pontoon and metal skirting. They were helped aboard the pontoon by the tubers then taken to shore for medical assistance.

Thometz and Goede were transported by ambulance to Loring Hospital in Sac City. Thometz was then sent on to Omaha for surgery to repair a lower leg fracture.

The incident occurred around 3:17 p.m., in the center of the lake, on the north side. Boat traffic was light for a Sunday likely due to cool air temperatures, plus wind and moderate wave action, said State Conservation Officer Nathan Haupert. The dredge was operating in the east bay and not involved in the incident.

The incident remains under investigation.