State Police say a father, boating with his son on Otter Lake Monday afternoon, tried to avoid a tragedy, but, instead, wound up inadvertently causing an unimaginable one.
"He just notices the pontoon boat so he took evasive action. As he does that, of course the physics push the tube outward and unfortunately one of the young men that was on the tube was able to jump in time. Unfortunately, Kaden was not and unforunately, he struck the pontoon boat," said New York State Trooper, Jack Keller.
Twelve-year-old Kaden Eckrich died as a result of his injuries. His father, 45-year-old Francis Eckrich, was driving the boat.
"Another boat in the nearby area had a nurse on board, off duty. She was able to get over there very quickly, start doing CPR, unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries," said Keller.
State Police say Eckrich was operating the boat at a high rate of speed, when he rounded a blind curve, encountering the pontoon boat.
Kaden Eckrich would have entered seventh grade at Madison Central School in September. His superintendent remembers him.
"He played on the town baseball team and was a good athlete, liked by all his classmates, even those in higher and lower grades. He'll be missed by all students in the district and the community. One of those students who always had a smile on his face," said Superintendent Michael Davis.
State Police are awaiting lab work to determine if alcohol was a factor in the accident. They're also determining whether or not Eckrich had a boater safety certificate from completing a boater safety course. At his age, it was not required by law that he take the class in order to operate a boat. The marine safety instructor with the Oneida County Sheriff's Department says everyone who operates a boat should complete the class.
"I've had people that have boated their entire lives, 40 plus years, that have learned something in the class, so it's our recommendation that everybody, even though it may not be required by law, everybody take a boater safety class," says Robert Snider, of the OCSD Marine Patrol.