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Published on June 19, 2024
Two Teenagers from Lake Forest and Long Grove Killed in WaveRunner-Boat Collision on Lake MarieSource: Facebook/Lake County IL Sheriff's Office

Tragedy struck on Lake Marie near Antioch on Tuesday evening as two teenagers, a 16-year-old from Lake Forest, California, and a 13-year-old from Long Grove, were killed following a collision between a Yamaha WaveRunner and a boat, per reports from Chicago Sun-Times and NBC Chicago. The Lake County sheriff's office relayed that the incident occurred at around 5:15 p.m. as the jet ski, headed northbound near a channel to Grass Lake, collided with a westbound Sea Ray Cabin Cruiser, operated by a 55-year-old Antioch man.

Witnesses at the scene described the personal watercraft speeding toward the boat, with the driver of the boat unable to avoid the impending collision, the crash threw both teenagers into the water, rendering them unconscious, they were promptly pulled from the water by the occupants of the boat who attempted to render aid before the victims were taken to shore with the assistance of another passing boat, according to officials. Tragically, despite wearing life vests, both girls succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced dead at Condell Medical Flint Center in Libertyville, authorities confirmed the victims were taken to a local hospital where the two teenagers were pronounced dead; no other injuries were reported in the incident.

In the wake of the crash, details emerged regarding Illinois state regulations concerning the operation of personal watercraft such as jet skis, including requirements for minors operating such vehicles, shed light on safety protocols; "persons at least 12-years-old but less than 18-years-old may operate a jet ski, which is considered a personal watercraft," under certain conditions which entail completing a boating safety course or possessing a Boating Safety Certificate issued by the Department of Natural Resources, or when accompanied by an adult, as outlined by the NBC Chicago report.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office and Illinois Conservation Police are investigating the accident, which follows a series of water-related incidents in the area including a 16-year-old boy who recently lost his life after falling from a raft on Lake Michigan, sentiments of grief and urgent calls for enhanced water safety measures are resonating across the community following the tragedies, autopsies for the teenage girls were scheduled as the community grapples with the loss, and likely, questions of how such youth, at the burgeoning cusp of possibility, are claimed by still waters turned turbulent.