The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is investigating a fatal boating accident on Douglas Lake.
According to the TWRA, two bass boats collided near Anchor Down campground Saturday morning around 9:30 a.m.
TWRA officials have identified the victim as 65-year-old Billy Ray Martin of Pikeville, Kentucky. According to the TWRA, Billy Martin and 30-year-old Brandon Martin were fishing with a bass club that was launched out of Walter’s Bridge Access Area early Saturday morning. Martin’s boat collided with another watercraft operated by 39-year-old Chris Sexton of Corryton, Tenn.
Officials say, Sexton and a juvenile male were fishing a bass tournament on the Morristown Marine Team Trail out of the Dandridge Access Area. During the collision, all four occupants were wearing life jackets and ejected into the water.
The occupants were recovered by other bass fishermen and taken to the Anchor Down campground. According to the TWRA, Billy was pronounced dead at the scene and Brandon was transported to UT Medical Center with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
“Life jackets were definitely a factor in saving several lives in this accident. When someone is in the water without a life jacket on there is always a possibility of drowning but when you add other factors such as cold water/air and extra clothing to protect from the elements, it makes survivability that much harder. Also, impacting the water at any rate of speed can increase the possibility of being knocked unconscious. That’s why the use of life jackets is always important,” said Jefferson County Boating Officer Chase Rich.
The TWRA says they are offering prayers and condolences for all the families involved.
The incident remains under investigation.