Two dead, several injured in holiday weekend boating incidents

Two people are dead, three are missing, and more than a dozen others were hospitalized in holiday weekend boating incidents in Georgia and Illinois on Saturday, authorities said.

Two boats carrying a total of nine people appeared to collide nearly head-on Saturday morning along the Wilmington River near Savannah, Georgia, Chatham Emergency Services Chief Philip D. Koster said.

Two of the people from one boat were pronounced dead at medical facilities, two were hospitalized in undisclosed condition and another two were missing, Koster said.

Koster described four of the six onboard that boat as teenagers.

Two men were hospitalized from the other boat and one person was missing, he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said five people were rescued, with one hospitalized in good condition. One of those rescued was pulled from the water by a Coast Guard helicopter crew.

The Coast Guard fielded a 10:42 a.m. marine radio report of the collision with people in the water, located more than 1 mile north of Thunderbolt Marina.

The people missing were described as a 37-year-old man and two men in their early 20s “last seen wearing board shorts and no shirts,” according to the Coast Guard.

Officials said the Coast Guard would continue to conduct rescue and dive operations alongside local partners.

On the Illinois River in the area of Seneca, Illinois, a 30-foot boat went up in flames about 5:30 p.m., Saturday, the Coast Guard said.

Illinois State Police said of 17 onboard, one suffered serious injuries and was taken to medical facilities by helicopter, and 13 others were hospitalized with injuries not thought to be life-threatening.

The fire happened as the boat appeared to be docked, berthed or stopped near Spring Brook Marina on the river. The cause of the blaze was being investigated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police.

Michelle Acevedo and TJ Swigart contributed.

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