Driver of boat cited after near-drowning

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HALL COUNTY, Neb. (KSNB) - Nebraska Game and Parks Conservation Officer Tim Williams said the reason a boat sank at Mormon Island State Recreation Area Thursday night is because of improper weight distribution and they may have exceeded the boat's weight capacity.

One man nearly drowned in the incident.

After inspecting the vessel, Williams said he found no cracks or issues with the boat's structure or the mechanical make-up of the boat.

The Game and Parks Department issued a $100 citation to the driver of the boat because they only had two life vests on board with three passengers, and none of them were wearing one.

The boaters also had no lighting equipment in use, which is required by law if you boat at night.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the near-drowning.

Officials won't release the names of the men in question until the conclusion of the investigation.

An emergency call for a possible drowning came in Thursday around 9:15 p.m. Rescue crews told NBC Nebraska that two of the three men had already found their way to shore by the time they arrived on scene.

The third man, however, was still stranded in the middle of the lake, holding on to a small piece of boat that was still above the water.

Grand Island Fire Department Shift Commander Bryan Stutzman said the third man may have been left in the chilled water for more than 45 minutes before crews could reach him.

Once rescue teams were able to get him out of the water, he was transported to the hospital with undisclosed injuries. Moments later, a team from GI Fire was able to extract the boat from the water.