One Dead after Two Boats Collide Off of Maine Coast

Unfortunately, a tragic boating accident off of the coast of Maine has left one man dead. Last week, 63-year-old Charles "Bill" Whetham was killed in an early evening crash when the 14-foot skiff he was piloting was struck by a 39-foot cabin cruiser near Littlejohn Island. Immediately following the collision, the pilot of the larger boat, Richard Lemieux, reportedly slowed and turned around while his passengers threw life jackets into the water. A nearby Coast Guard Auxiliary boat then pulled Whetham aboard. Although Whetham was transported to Portland's Maine Medical Center, he reportedly died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.

According to Maine Marine Patrol Sgt. Rob Beals, the cause of the accident is currently under investigation. Beals stated investigators transported the skiff to Scarborough for further analysis. The larger boat was not impounded. Although the cabin cruiser was not visibly damaged in the crash, the smaller boat reportedly sustained major damage to both the starboard side and the stern. Beals said blood samples were collected from the boat pilots, but alcohol was unlikely to have played a role in the fatal accident.

It is unclear where the cabin cruiser was headed at the time of the crash. Investigators reportedly suspect the angle of the sun may have made it difficult for Lemieux to see the smaller boat which might have caused the collision. All eight passengers aboard the cabin boat told investigators they did not see Whetham's skiff prior to impact. Witnesses aboard other boats also claimed the glare off of the water was significant when the accident occurred. According to those familiar with Whetham, the man would not have intentionally cut in front of a large boat.

No matter where you are sailing, pleasure boaters and yachters can fall victim to unexpected accidents. Unfortunately, boat passengers and pilots can be seriously hurt or killed in a boat crash or other accident. Too often, accidents at sea result in catastrophic personal injuries. People who are hurt on a boat can be hurt so severely that they may require long-term medical treatment and care for the rest of their lives. Such life-altering injuries can include traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, burns, amputation, and even death.

The victims of an injury on a boat or ship may be eligible to receive financial compensation for their pain, suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, and punitive damages. Those who lost a close relative in a boating accident, may also be able to recover for wrongful death. If you were hurt or a family member was killed in a boating accident, you should contact a capable maritime law attorney to discuss your options for recovery.

Call Seattle Maritime Attorneys John Merriam and Gordon Webb toll free at (877) 800-1007 if you were hurt while traveling on a boat. Our hardworking Washington maritime attorneys have nearly 50 years of combined experience helping the victims of boating accident injuries receive the compensation they deserve. Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webb handle boating injury cases that originated throughout North America including the Gulf of Mexico, the Bering Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Alaska. To speak with a skilled maritime lawyer today, do not hesitate to contact attorneys John Merriam and Gordon Webb through the law firm's website.

Additional Resources:

Island distraught over boating fatality, by David Hench, Portland Press Herald

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