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'We'll need all hands on deck': Details emerge after deadly boat crash near Kingston, Ont.

Ontario Provincial Police are investigating a boat collision in the Buck Bay area of Bobs Lake, north of Kingston, Ont. Three people were killed in the collision Saturday night. (Jack Richardson/CTV News Ottawa) Ontario Provincial Police are investigating a boat collision in the Buck Bay area of Bobs Lake, north of Kingston, Ont. Three people were killed in the collision Saturday night. (Jack Richardson/CTV News Ottawa)
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Police have wrapped up their on-scene investigation into a deadly boat crash in eastern Ontario over the long weekend as details of the incident emerge.

The Ontario Provincial Police's collision reconstruction team is piecing together what happened, spokesman Bill Dickson said Wednesday.

Three young adults died and five other people were taken to hospital after a speedboat ended up on top of a fishing boat on Bobs Lake north of Kingston, Ont., shortly after 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We can't speculate on charges at this point,'' Dickson said."That will depend on the outcome of the investigation."

Recordings of emergency dispatches posted online reveal a chaotic scene Saturday night as paramedics, police and firefighters raced to the area while dispatchers figured out where rescue boats could be launched.

"OPP and ambulance are reporting two boats have crashed, they can hear people screaming for help," a dispatcher from South Frontenac Fire and Rescue said around 9:46 p.m.

They had an initial report of one person without vital signs. The crash occurred on a narrow channel in a part of Bobs Lake known as Buck Bay, firefighters said.

Around 10:10 p.m., first responders found most of the crash victims wedged together on the boats next to a concrete dock near a few cottages. Police and firefighters were first on the scene.

Two people were without vital signs while another was in and out of consciousness, a firefighter told dispatch.

"We'll need all hands on deck," the firefighter said in a calm voice.

"There is a fishing boat at a concrete dock with a sport boat on top of it," a firefighter said. "We're performing CPR on the boat."

Three people, all in their early 20s, were pronounced dead at the scene, police have said. There was confusion about how many people were on board each boat. First responders were treating seven people, but believed there may have been another in the water.

Rescuers launched a drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera to help with the search as marine firefighters scoured the dark waters for signs of life.

Several hours later, rescuers recovered a body.

The crash occurred during Safe Boating Awareness Week. OPP say 23 boaters and paddlers died in the province last year, and 21 of those deaths occurred because their boat capsized or they went overboard. Seventeen people who died were not wearing life-jackets.

Police have not said whether victims of the crash on Bobs Lake were wearing life-jackets.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2024. 

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