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Town of Burlington

Man injured when WaveRunner, boat collide on Browns Lake

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TOWN OF BURLINGTON — A man was reportedly seriously injured after a personal watercraft and a fishing boat collided Monday afternoon on Browns Lake, the Racine County Sheriff's Office reported.

Sheriff's deputies, the Town of Burlington Fire Department and Burlington Rescue squad crews were dispatched at 1:51 p.m. to the lake near the Fischer Park boat launch for a report of a male, unconscious and in the water.

According to the Sheriff's Office, preliminary investigation revealed that a Yamaha WaveRunner towing an inner-tube with a total of four occupants struck a fishing boat occupied by two individuals about 100 feet off shore. The collision caused a man of the fishing boat to be ejected from the boat and thrown into the lake.

Witness indicated that the man was unconscious, breathing and was in danger of staying afloat. The operator of the WaveRunner was able to assist the victim in staying afloat while another boater in the area lifted the patient out of the water and onto their boat. The patient was then driven to shore where first responders rendered aid.

About 30 minutes after the initial report of the crash, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling confirmed there had been an accident and that at least one person was being transported by ambulance with injuries. The injuries were unknown early on but were believed to be serious, Schmaling said.

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Later Monday, the Sheriff's Office reported that the man had been transported via Flight for Life to a regional trauma center due to the extent of his injuries, which were not detailed to the media. 

All other occupants of the involved watercrafts were quickly accounted for by deputies, with no other reported injuries, the Sheriff's Office reported.

At the scene, Scott Wingreen, assistant chief for the Town of Burlington Fire Department, said the boat, which also was moving at the time of the crash, appeared to be about 12 to 14 feet long. The victim was in the water, unresponsive, for about 5 minutes, Wingreen was told.

Damage could be seen to the  fishing boat’s port, or left, side near the front after it was brought to the pier at Fischer Park.

Schmaling said the county dive team was immediately called out when the call was dispatched, but was canceled because the victim had already been removed from the water.

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Andrew Rosenthal, Mick Burke and Pete Wicklund contributed to this report.



Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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