11-year-old girl dies after falling off inflatable tube, getting struck by boat on Michigan lake

Boat driver, spotter didn’t realize girl had fallen into water, officials say

A life jacket. (Getty Images)

HILLSDALE, Mich. – An 11-year-old girl died this week after she fell off of an inflatable tube into a Michigan lake and was struck by a boat driven by a lifeguard who didn’t realize she had fallen into the water, officials said.

The incident happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday (July 27) on Lake Michindoh, offshore of the Michindoh Conference Center in Hillsdale, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Michindoh Conference Center is a Christian camp and conference center along Bacon Road on the east side of the lake, officials said.

A 25-year-old lifeguard from the conference center was driving a 1989 Supra Sunsport on the lake and pulling 12 children on a banana boat, which is an inflatable tube, according to authorities.

Officials said a 29-year-old woman was on the boat watching the children as their spotter. All the children were wearing life jackets and helmets, authorities said.

The spotter saw three children fall off the banana boat and into the water, according to officials. When the driver of the boat returned to pick up the children, the boat struck a fourth child they didn’t realize had fallen into the water, according to the Michigan DNR.

The driver jumped into the water to help the 11-year-old girl, officials said. She was brought back to the dock at the conference center and met by emergency responders, who tried to treat her life-threatening injuries, according to authorities.

She was rushed to Hillsdale County Hospital, where she died, officials said.

Alcohol and drugs are not believed to have been a factor. Weather conditions were favorable for boating, and the boat was the only vessel on the lake at the time of the incident, according to the Michigan DNR.

The driver of the boat has a Michigan boater safety certificate and is cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.

Officials from the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, the North Adam Fire Department, and the Reading Emergency Unit are involved in the case.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.