First responders concerned about multiple incidents on Mountain Island Lake

The incident happened near the Mountain Island Lake dam on Sunday evening.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 8:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Multiple incidents on Mountain Island Lake are raising concerns for first responders and people living on the water. Within the last month, rescue crews have responded to the lake on average once a week, an early trend that has some worried once the summer month arrives.

In the past two weeks, two jet ski crashes on the lake near Mountain Island Dam and as we get closer to summer, more people will flood the lake for water activities.

Willie Gray, who lives on the lake said, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better, that’s my thought because the lake traffic is on the increase now.

Over the past 4 weeks, rescue crews with the Lucia-Riverbend Fire Department have responded to the lake on 4 different incidents ranging from a medical emergency, drowning, and two jet ski crashes.

David Toomey, the Chief of the Lucia-Riverbend Fire Department said, “The jet ski accidents were from people not knowing their watercraft.”

On Sunday, witnesses reported someone riding recklessly on a jet ski before crashing into another jet ski, injuring 5 people, including a child.

Just last week, another jet ski crashed into a dock within the same area of the lake.

Willie Gray said, “I was in the house, I heard a big bang, I looked down and two ladies on a jet ski had run into my dock.”

First responders tell me the people on the jet ski jumped off before the crash – causing a few hundred dollars in damage to the dock.

“I’m pretty sure the lady that was operating the jet ski, this was her first time and she really didn’t know what she was doing, and that attributed to the accident,” said Gray.

Jonathan Galloway, a boater, tells WBTV that jet skis on Mountain Island Lake are a concern for him.

“They just want to speed and they don’t respect the other people out here fishing,” he said.

Multiple incidents over the past month make first responders nervous about the upcoming holiday and summer months.

“We’re to the point where we’re going to staff our boat on the water on the weekend, that way we’ll be out there with it, in case something happens, we’ll get out there quicker,” said Chief Toomey.

NC Wildlife Resources told WBTV it’s stretched thin as lake activity grows in the area, but it will have to focus resources on hot spots on the water in our area. The agency tells WBTV anyone born after 1988 must have a boat safety certification when operating boats and jet skis.