OPP continuing to investigate fatal Bobs Lake boat crash

An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) boat sits in the waters of Buck Bay in Bob’s Lake, South Frontenac Township, on Sunday, May 19, 2024, as the investigation into a fatal boating collision the evening before continues. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

A community is left reeling and undoubtedly with questions after a horrific boat crash claimed the lives of three people over the weekend.

On Sunday, May 19, 2024, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) confirmed that three people had died and five people were taken to hospital following a boat crash in the Buck Bay area of Bobs Lake, located approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Sharbot Lake in South Frontenac Township. The crash occurred just before 9:40 p.m. on the night of Saturday, May 18, 2024, and drew response from the Frontenac County OPP, South Frontenac Fire & Rescue, Frontenac Paramedics, with mutual aid from surrounding fire departments and ORNGE.

The crash involved a speed boat and an open-bow-style fishing boat, according to police, and emergency responders at the scene encountered multiple seriously injured parties on land, in the water, and still in the involved boats, which were found one on top of the other – the speed boat atop the fishing board – alongside an abandoned concrete dock. A search for one of the parties reportedly on one of the involved boats continued for hours before reaching a tragic conclusion when that person was located deceased.

On Sunday, police released the ages of the deceased individuals: a 21-year-old female from South Frontenac Township, a 22-year-old female from Elginburg (within South Frontenac Township), and a 23-year-old male from South Frontenac.

Throughout the day on Sunday, police, towing companies, and representatives with the Ministry of Natural Resources were at the scene of the crash, carrying out investigations and planning to remove the two boats from the water. The boats were successfully removed from the water, however, the underwater portion of the police investigation remained ongoing as of Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

While few details of the investigation and its findings can be disclosed at this time, rumours have begun to circulate online and in some reporting. Constable Robert Martell of the Frontenac OPP spoke with Kingstonist on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, and addressed some of the discrepancies.

According to Martell, there have been no charges and no direct indications of impaired operation of a boat at this time. In fact, no charges have been laid of any sort, he confirmed with Kingstonist. The investigation into the crash is currently in the hands of a Detective Inspector and the criminal investigation division of the OPP, Martell relayed, noting that the current underwater investigation is a search for any evidentiary materials. The broader investigation into the crash also remains ongoing, he said.

Martell was not able to provide updates on the current condition of those parties taken to hospital following the incident. On Sunday, police said the five people taken to Kingston General Hospital (KHG) range in age from 21 to 44 and suffered a wide range of injuries. Several other people were treated by paramedics and released at the scene.

According to witnesses, there were at least two children on the speedboat just before the crash. Although Kingstonist has requested confirmation from the OPP that children were involved in the crash, no response was received by time of publication. Kingstonist has also inquired as to whether any children required medical attention in hospital, which was not immediately indicated by police following the crash.

As previously reported, the investigation into the cause of the crash continues, with the Coroner’s office being notified and tasked with conducting an investigation alongside OPP. 

Kingstonist will continue to provide updated coverage on this incident and the investigation into it as more information becomes available and is verified.

With files from Cris Vilela.

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