Three women in California lost their lives after the personal watercraft they were riding collided with a 20-foot motorboat at Puddingstone Lake in Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park.

The boating accident occurred in the late afternoon as both vessels were attempting to negotiate a turn. All three women on the personal watercraft were killed. Out of the four occupants of the boat, three men aged 22, 35 and 36, sustained injuries serious enough that they were taken to hospitals via helicopter. The fourth person, a 22-year-old woman, was transported to the hospital in an ambulance. None of the injuries to the four men were life-threatening.

The deaths are being looked into by the Sheriff’s homicide department, but as of yet the cause of the accident itself has yet to be revealed. Authorities say that so far, there is no indication that alcohol was a factor in the incident.

It is not known at this time how many passengers the personal watercraft the women were operating was designed to hold. County lifeguards are also conducting their own investigation. The deceased were 22, 35 and 60 years old, and were family members.

While there are traffic rules that apply to waterways, many boaters do not take the time to learn and review the guidelines of basic boating safety and can pose a serious safety concern to other boaters. The problem is compounded by the fact that traffic laws on the water are not as heavily enforced as those on the highway. The Puddingstone Lake tragedy is yet another example of just how deadly boat accidents on the open water can be.

Puddingstone Lake has had a solid safety record, and has not suffered a fatality in over ten years.

Source: San Jose Mercury News “3 dead, 4 hurt in crash at South California reservoir,” Oct. 16, 2011