Commonwealth Journal

Local News

September 9, 2008

Boater dies during Lake Cumberland Poker Run event

Local News

JAMESTOWN, Ky. — As executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, Carolyn Mounce is something of a caretaker for Lake Cumberland. It’s in her interest to see lake-goers have as good — and safe — a time as possible.

So Mounce’s experience at the Lake Cumberland Poker Run Saturday in Russell County was not a pleasant one, as an Indiana man died when his boat flipped over while traveling at a high speed.

“It’s very unfortunate,” said Mounce. “I feel so sorry for the gentleman who lost his life.”

However, the conditions Mounce saw from her vantage point on a deck near the boat ramp at the Jamestown site were not conducive to safety.

“As they were about to race, I noticed a lot of boats coming up — an awful lot of other lake traffic,” said Mounce. “It almost looked like they were in the lane. I was fearful for the people out there with the boats going so fast.”

Trista Warren, a regular at the annual Poker Run, said the first group of boats that head out in the race are the fastest, frequently going as fast as 150 miles per hour. An eyewitness to the accident, Warren estimated that the catamaran involved was going well over 100 miles per hour — certainly not unusual for the watercraft involved — and Bill Jasper, president of the State Dock in Jamestown, said he had heard the boat was clocked at 130 miles per hour.

“The boat was absolutely flying,” said Warren. “It looked like it hit the lake and the nose just went straight up. When it came back down, it just started flipping. From where we were at, you could see (the people in the boat) flip out and skid across the water.”

Warren said she’s gone to the event for the last few years and the water was rougher than she’s ever seen it — poor conditions for such light boats prone to flipping, she suggested.

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