1 dead, 3 injured in Canyon Lake boating accident

Authorities say one person is dead and three others were hurt after a boating accident on Saturday.

The crash happened close to the shore and Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies say accidents like this are a wake up call to follow safety rules on the water.

The boat was ripped apart and now MCSO is investigating what led to the deadly crash at Canyon Lake.

"According to witnesses, the boat was coming out of a cove from one fishing area and getting ready to go to another area when something caught the distraction of the operator, so he left the controls momentarily to go fix that and when he did, the boat slammed into a rock that was just right before hitting shore," said MCSO Officer Chris Hegstrom.

Deputies say the boat was traveling at a high speed before it collided with that boulder, throwing one of the riders to the shore and killing a 50-year-old passenger named Christian Dietl.

"It does appear that alcohol may have played a factor in this accident," said Hegstrom.

MCSO says this tragedy is a harsh reminder to take precautions on the water.  Deputies say as the heart of summer approaches, they'll be patrolling lakes in full force, looking for anyone breaking the rules.

"On every single one I'm going to look and say, is this person impaired by alcohol?" said MCSO Officer Clint Bradshaw.

They'll also be checking for fire extinguishers and life jackets on boats.  There should be a life vest for every person on board and those 12 and under must be wearing one.

"We're looking for people to be responsible, to have safety equipment, to have knowledge of boating and to not be impaired when operating their boats or abusing alcohol," said Bradshaw.

MCSO says the penalties for operating under the influence are very similar to driving under the influence.  Operating a boat under the influence is a class one misdemeanor, which includes fines and jail time.

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