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White Lake boating death: Police say 16-year-old girl was struck by boat’s propeller in water

Nicole Shoup's death ruled 'freak accident'

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A 16-year-old girl who was killed in a White Lake Township boating incident somehow ended up in the water and was struck by the boat’s propeller, investigators said.

White Lake police are calling Nicole Shoup’s death a “freak accident.” They said she was with her boyfriend on Mandon Lake on Monday evening when she ended up in the water and was struck by the boat’s propeller.

Shoup played the violin and loved to sing and dance, her family said. She was enjoying being out on the water with her boyfriend when tragedy struck.

“Something like this can happen in the blink of an eye,” White Lake police Lt. Matt Ivory said. “Lives are changed just that fast.”

White Lake police are still investigating whether Shoup jumped into the water or fell off the boat.

“Ultimately, she was screaming for help and she was pulled onto the boat by the man,” Ivory said.

The Holly High School student suffered extensive injuries, officials said. Her boyfriend brought the boat back to shore and called 911.

Nicole Shoup
Nicole Shoup (WDIV)

Shoup was rushed to the hospital, where she died.

“This does appear to be a freak accident, and there’s something that you can’t necessarily plan for,” Ivory said. “I don’t know if anything would have prevented this.”

It’s not clear if Shoup was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident or whether that would have prevented her injuries.

“Anyone that’s going to go on the water that’s young -- anyone period who is going to go on the water -- I would highly encourage you to take a Coast Guard-approved boater safety course,” Ivory said. “They do teach a lot of things that keep people safe on the water. It’s a good idea. It’s the law.”

Shoup’s family said her birthday would have been next month and she was looking forward to getting her license.

“I sympathize and empathize on a very personal, emotional level,” Ivory said. “I have a family myself, and I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

Police don’t suspect any foul play. They said neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.

Nicole Shoup
Nicole Shoup (WDIV)

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