Friend says man killed in boat crash was big on safety
Published Tuesday, July 6, 2010 5:29PM PDT
As investigators in B.C. puzzle over the wreckage of a crash that killed a houseboat driver over the weekend, friends of the deceased are defending his safety record.
Fifty-three-year-old Ken Brown of Anglemont, B.C., was killed Sunday after an 18-foot Campion speedboat slammed head first into the 40-foot houseboat he was driving, lodging the boat deep inside. Thirteen people were on board the houseboat, while three others were in the speedboat.
Eight people were taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops with injuries ranging from minor bruises to fractures and head injuries. A man and a woman remain in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
On Tuesday, the wreckage sat on dry land, with the speedboat still lodged inside the houseboat, as investigators worked to determine what caused the crash.
"They are looking to everything that could shed some light as to what happened: direction of travel, point of impact, any information that we may be able to gather from any electronic system that may be in the vessel," RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Annie Linteau said.
One of Brown's longtime friends, Ted Patterson, told CTV News that Brown loved the water.
"He loves the lake -- that's his life, is the lake and his boats and having fun with friends," Patterson said.
Patterson and Brown met as children and worked together at CP Rail for decades, and Patterson said he knew his friend to be a stickler for safety.
"When it comes to boating, he did it safely. He worked on the boat all that day, made sure the lights worked, he made sure that he didn't take too many people on the boat," Patterson said.
"He was pretty adamant about things like that."
CTV News has also spoken with the man who was driving the speedboat that night. He claims he didn't see the houseboat until it was too late, because the houseboat didn't have its lights on.
"We hit something in the dark. We did not know what it was," he said.
But Patterson said he found that hard to believe.
"I know Kenny wouldn't have taken the boat out if the lights weren't working," he said. "I know other people who were out on the lake, and they told me the same thing -- that Kenny's lights were working."
The collision happened while boaters were leaving the area following a fireworks display, and police admit they did not have a patrol on the water that night.
"We certainly can't be there 24 hours a day. We were not present. It is 2,200 kilometres of shoreline that is policed by three detachments who have a regular police presence on the lake and an enhanced police presence during summer months," Linteau said.
Police think they may be able to separate the two boats sometime on Wednesday, but they say determining exactly what happened on the lake that night will take some time.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber