NEW INFO: Man Critically Injured After Boat Crashes Into Bridge

Wildlife officers say they're not sure why a driver of a boat made a sudden turn, striking one of the concrete supports on the Atlantic Beach-Morehead City bridge Tuesday afternoon.

Three Newport men on the boat were injured and the 20 foot recreational boat received major damage to its hull.

Bonnar Williams, who was driving the boat, is in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. Two other men, Larry Linder and Anson Jacobs, were sent to Carteret General Hospital with rib injuries. Linder was released Wednesday morning.

Wildlife officer Cliff Lanier says the boat was headed in a westerly direction under the bridge when at the last minute Williams made an abrupt turn to the right. Lanier said alcohol was not involved and he speculates that Williams may have had some type of health problem.


A man remains in critical condition after a boat crash in Carteret County sent three people to the hospital.

Mary Fowler--says she witnessed the accident Tuesday afternoon. Fowler--who is a server at the Chanel Marker Restaurant in Morehead City says she arrived for work when she saw a boat crash into the bottom of the Atlantic Beach--Morehead City Bridge around 4:00.

Fowler rushed inside the restaurant and called authorities. Officials say three people were injured--two of them suffered minor injuries but the captain of the boat remains in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital after authorities say he was impaled by the steering wheel of the boat and suffered a severe laceration on his ankle. Fowler describes the horrifying ordeal.

The U.S. Coast Guard was called to help extract the man from his boat. The boat is described to be a 20-foot recreational flatbottom which is currently being held at the portside marina. Officials from the North Carolina Wildlife are conducting an investigation.

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According to fire officials, a 20-foot recreational boat hit the Atlantic Beach-Morehead City bridge after 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, near the "Channel Marker" restaurant.

Three people were on the boat. Two were taken to Carteret with minor injuries. One was airlifted to Pitt County Memorial Hospital with critical injuries.

Officials say the critically injured man was the captain of the boat, and he had to be extracted from the boat because he was impaled by the steering column.

The boat has been handed over to the North Carolina Wildlife officials for investigation.

The scene is cleared, and traffic is not affected on the bridge.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by J Linder Location: orlando, fl on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:41 AM
    I wanted to say thank you for the help my dad and the other 2 men received from passerby's and all who helped out. I know my dad is recovering at home and cant wait till he can get to the hospital to see his friend but is not really able yet to get out and about. My family is praying still for everyone and appreciates all of your prayers you have given.
  • by JennyLynn Location: Newwport on Nov 19, 2009 at 08:57 AM
    I'm sending my love to your family and my prayers are with you.
  • by David Location: LaGrange on Nov 19, 2009 at 05:32 AM
    I hope this gentleman has a speedy and full recovery. He is lucky to have made it through such a crash. With all of the speculation on the tragedy, I would like to say that on a boat with out hydraulic steering, a simple steering failure could have caused the whole mess. A broken steering cable will cause a boat to make a hard right 90% of the time. Until the driver is in condition to recount what happened, there is little way of knowing how it exactly played out. Injuries that severe can send someone into cardiac arrest sfter the fact, and if alcohol played a part, with the crackdown on drinking and boating, you can believe the authorities would put that at the forefront of the report. This could have been a medical, mechanical, or one of many issues.
  • by Joe ME3 Location: AB on Nov 18, 2009 at 08:33 PM
    it was a 22 foot V-hull vessel.
  • by Laura Location: NC on Nov 18, 2009 at 04:13 PM
    I hope and pray that all involved recover quickly and wholly. Prayers are with the families during this time.
  • by Kim Location: Beaufort on Nov 18, 2009 at 04:12 PM
    My heart is just broken over this- Bonnar is one of my insured's and he & his wife are two of the sweetest people I know- I pray he is able to pull through this.. God Be With them both...
  • by jr Location: bath on Nov 18, 2009 at 01:52 PM
    heather, my remarks were intended for witn. they just left us hanging. i am sorry about the accident, and have put ypour uncle on our church's prayer pist.
  • by Dave on Nov 18, 2009 at 01:45 PM
    As a fellow boater I wish these men a speedy recovery. I travel under that bridge quite often myself. Not being a witness none of us know exactly how it played out, but a medical problem, coupled with the currents, winds, and wakes from other boats could easliy make a boat take an abrupt turn. For that matter someone with no medical problems could have easily caught a wake the wrong way and slammed the bridge. Heather, rest assured that the EastCare crew that picked your uncle up had him in the best hands possible for his transport to pitt. Hopefully he will make a full recovery soon.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM
    Heather, I hope for a speedy recovery for your uncle. So sorry that this happened. Pete, that's a little drastic suggestion for "everyone" at age 40, as that procedure has it's risks too & not everyone needs it. Bo, re crow & eggs.. unless you plan on cooking dinner, stopit.. yer making me hungry. Grifton, God was in charge in the first place, not just now. And..... everyone who is chewing on "Moderators Nightmare", y'all look silly. Read that poster's name and think for a second.
  • by Sue Location: Greenville on Nov 18, 2009 at 11:03 AM
    Heather, I'm so sorry for your family's suffering. When my husband and I first heard this on the news last night, his first comment was "I wonder if he had a medical condition"...so not everyone is as hard-hearted and quick to assume as others. Your family will be in our prayers. Please try to post & update us on your uncle's condition. God Bless You.
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