Boating accident near Florence on Saturday


A boating accident on Saturday at approximately 12:30 p.m. on the Ohio River left a wake of damage but no injuries.

According to investigating Indiana Conservation Officer David Jackson, boat operator and owner Lovirdia McDaniel, 51, from Fairdale, Kentucky; and Mark Hodson, 42, from Farmland, Indiana, were thrown from a 16-foot, 240 horsepower ‘Sugar Sand’ jet-drive motorboat when it encountered rough water.

Lovirdia McDaniel advised investigators he thought they hit an unseen wave and went airborne, at which time he and Mark Hodson were thrown from the boat. The boat made several large circles almost hitting the ejected pair.

The boat, still under full power, came ashore at Turtle Creek Harbor in Florence, and traveled approximately 160-feet across land before striking and damaging two unoccupied boats docked there. No estimate of damages is currently available.

The boat was equipped with a kill cord safety which connects the operator with a kill switch that will automatically stop the boat motor in the event the operator moves too far from the operator’s seat. The investigation has revealed this safety device was not in use at the time of the incident.

Lovirdia McDaniel and Mark Hodson were not wearing PFDs (lifejackets) when the incident occurred.

“Both were in the water about 10 minutes and worn out before being pulled to safety by two men fishing from a pontoon boat in the area” according to Officer Jackson.

The two men who rescued the pair were John Hann, Jr., of Bethel Ridge Road near Florence; and Gary Davis, Jr., of Lineback Road near Florence.

:This incident serves as reminder of how quickly accidents happen and the importance of wearing lifejackets,” Officer Jackson said. “Boaters should always be watchful for rough waters or waves and know how to properly navigate in their presence. Familiarization and use of motorboat safety features and equipment should be a matter of habit to boaters.”