7 rescued after boat sinks on Lake Wawasee

Photo of a boat being pulled out of Lake Wawasee after it capsized and sank July 25, 2015. (Photo provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) Seven people were rescued after a boat sank Saturday night on Lake Wawasee. The driver of the boat was arrested after investigators determined he was intoxicated nearly three times the legal limit.

According to a release from the Department of Natural Resources, around 7:15 p.m. a lake patrol officer witnessed the boat speeding across Lake Wawasee, which is under an idle speed restriction. Witnesses said the boat was sitting very low in the water.

When the lake patrol officer attempted to stop the boat, the driver abruptly stopped, causing water to overtake the craft. Then the driver tried to accelerate, which forced more water into the boat. One of the passengers was thrown overboard.

The boat then capsized and quickly sank.

According to the DNR, only one of the seven people in the boat wore a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest.

The driver of the boat, Adam Wenger, 22, of Goshen, was arrested for operating the boat while intoxicated. According to the DNR, another person in the boat, Hayden Schmucker, 20, of Goshen, faces charges of minor possession or consumption of alcohol.

Investigators said no one was hurt thanks to the quick rescue by Kosciusko County Sheriff Lake Patrol Officer Ken Troutman and Indiana Conservation Officers Boyd and Whitehead.

“Luckily, conservation officers and lake patrol officers were already on the water. So, they were quickly able to get everyone out of the water. That’s not typically the case. Typically, it takes minutes for officers to respond to those locations. If we’re not on that body of water, it could take even longer. When you’re in the water in an incident like this, seconds count,” DNR Officer Johnathan Boyd said.

The DNR continues to investigate what exactly caused the boat to sink.

The DNR wants to remind the public to never drive a boat under the influence of alcohol and to wear a life jacket anytime you are on or near the water.

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