KENT ISLAND, Md. (WJZ) — Tragedy along the Eastern Shore. A popular boat race left a seven-year-old girl dead. Police say it happened just off Kent Island when a driver lost control of their vessel.
Rick Ritter has new details on the heartbreaking collision and spoke with people who were there.
That little girl has been identified as seven-year-old Julianne Rosela. Fire officials say the boat was traveling at a very high speed when it lost control, killing Julianne and injuring three others.
What started out as a festive day along the Eastern Shore ended with an intense collision and a seven-year-old girl dead.
The call came in just after 4:30 Sunday. The popular Thunder on the Narrows race took a wild turn when a boat lost control near Kent Island, smashing into vessels of spectators.
“We noticed the other boats that were racing and stopped and were sitting there floating,” said Courtney McMahon.
Those at the race say it was difficult to actually see the accident but it was clear something happened when several flares were fired into the air.
“All of the Coast Guard, police boats, everyone just ran straight over there,” said Jordan Simmons.
Fire officials say three adults were injured and taken to Shock Trauma and seven-year-old Julianne was killed. A GoFundMe page describes her as a little girl who crackled with energy and love. She was a family friend of Jordan Simmons.
“She was a very cute little girl. We were all at the pool. She was hanging around the pool; wanted to go swim all the time,” Simmons said.
Paul Schlotterbeck and the Kent Island Fire Department were on the scene within seconds.
“Obviously, we’re human like anyone else and we’re affected having to respond to an incident like of that nature,” he said.
He says when a driver loses control of steering on the water, fate takes over.
“If he loses a rudder, he no longer has steering or control over that boat. Boats don’t have brakes; he’s moving 120 miles per hour and even if he cuts the motor, it’s still gonna go where it wants to go. Nothing he can do about it,” Schlotterbeck said.
A painful loss that’s rocked the entire Eastern Shore.
“It could’ve equally been anyone out there. It was a freak accident,” Simmons.
There’s no word on the condition of the other three people injured in the accident. Fire officials say shortly after this accident, there was another one nearby involving five people. Four people survived; one is still unaccounted for.
The US Coast Guard is investigating this accident.
To donate to Julianne Rosela’s GoFundMe page, click here. The page has raised over $15,000 already.