A fatal boating accident on Lake Anna left one man dead and two children injured. The accident is under investigation.
Typically, the 4th of July weekend means that Lake Anna in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, is packed with families looking to get away for the weekend. Lake Anna is a 13,000-acre reservoir that spans three counties in Eastern Virginia; the lake is one of the most popular in-land recreation lakes in the state. Each summer, hundreds of people come to Lake Anna to swim, boat, and fish. A holiday weekend is always a busy weekend on the lake, but this 4th of July weekend was unfortunately marked by a fatal boating accident.
On Saturday, July 1, around 6:40 p.m., “two [people] in a boat made [an] evasive move to avoid another boat heading in their direction, ejecting both occupants from the boat. The boat then proceeded to run over the line of two minors on tubes that were being towed by a separate boat,” a preliminary investigative report from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said.
Charles William Bowen was thrown from his watercraft, a 1988 Wellcraft boat, after he swerved to avoid colliding with another boat, just after 6:30 p.m. The second passenger in Bowen’s boat survived with minimal injuries, but divers found the body of Charles William Bowen, 53, of Orange, Virginia, around 10 p.m. The report said that Bowen was not wearing a life vest. After Bowen and company were ejected, the boat continued running, colliding with the line of a boat towing two children on inner tubes. The two children on the inner tubes were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
An 11-minute Facebook Live video posted by Facebook user Justin Armel immediately after the accident shows the boat running in circles with no one at the helm. The video, taken by Armel on his jet ski, contains strings of profanity as Armel reacts to the scene. It has been viewed more than 16,000 times and shared nearly 180 times. Other users have accused Armel of not doing enough, although other watercraft can be seen circling the accident in the video.
The vessel that Charles Bowen swerved to avoid, a 2014 Starcraft, has not yet been located, said Lee Walker, outreach director for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Charges are pending. The accident remains under investigation.
A Deadly Weekend in Virginia Waters
This holiday weekend was a deadly for at least one other Virginia lake. A Culpepper man, William Dixon, drowned at the Lake of the Woods beach Saturday afternoon. Lake of the Woods in Orange County similarly attracts large crowds on holiday weekends; Dixon was there with his fiance and family when he swam into deeper water. Multiple witnesses say they saw him struggling to stay afloat. By the time his body was retrieved, he had been under water for eight minutes.
This weekend actually marked the third consecutive 4th of July weekend where someone died at Lake Anna. On Saturday, July 2, 2016, Dante Johnson, 25, drowned in Lake Anna while swimming with friends. In 2015, Justin Briggs, 19, of Fairfax County drowned after hitting his head and falling in the water. He was last seen about 1:30 a.m. His body was recovered about 15 feet from the
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