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Six injured in boat collision on Colorado River


July 25, 2017

NEEDLES, Calif – On Saturday, July 22, at about 2:24 in the afternoon, San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputies responded to a collision involving a Pontoon boat and local tour boat on the Colorado River near Blankenship Bend. The owner/operator of the pontoon boat, Merrill Storms and two passengers were traveling south from the area of the sand bar at Blankenship Bend when his vessel collided with a 48' aluminum commercial tour boat operated by Arthur Martin carrying 33 passengers and two crew members.

Storms was traveling approximately 30-35 mph at the time of the incident when the bow of his vessel struck the tour boat.

As a result of the two vessels colliding, a total of 6 people were injured. Two from the Pontoon boat and four from the tour boat were transported to a local hospital. One of the injured was in critical condition and was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time of the investigation, alcohol was not believed to be a factor. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone having additional information regarding the incident is urged to contact Deputy Brian Weck, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Marine Enforcement Unit.

The U.S Coast Guard will also be conducting a parallel investigation of the collision due to the commercial vessel.


Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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