CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Authorities said a man and a child are dead following a boating incident on a lake in Tennessee Saturday night.
The crash was reported on Cheatham Lake, which is part of the Cumberland River, at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.
According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the collision occurred between a personal watercraft and a barge. A wildlife officer told News 2 that a jet ski was involved.
The preliminary investigation shows 36-year-old Steven White was operating a personal watercraft when he struck a barge that was being pushed by a Hines Furlong Line tow boat. Authorities said White’s 9-year-old son was a passenger on the watercraft.
After the crash, the operator of the tow boat reportedly activated the general alarm and deckhands launched a vessel to assist White and the boy.
Deckhands found White unresponsive and without a pulse, according to the TWRA. He was then taken to nearby first responders at the Cheatham Dam Campground boat ramp, where he was later pronounced dead.
“It’s all about the family. I mean, we’re here to get the family closure as fast as possible, and everybody out here takes time away from their family to be here for the family that’s missing somebody,” said Davidson County Wildlife Officer Matthew Norman with the TWRA.
Officials said White and his son were both wearing personal floatation devices during the collision.
Multiple agencies reportedly combed through the area for the 9-year-old until 1 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, while TWRA officers made routine searches throughout the night. Crews returned to the lake at 8 a.m. to resume a full-scale search for the missing child.
The TWRA used its remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to aid in the underwater search for the child. The robotic device allows officers to see things in the water not visible on land.
“We’re looking for shapes, and anything that could resemble what we’re looking for is what we’ll put what we call a mark on or a pin on and then maybe a diver, or if we can get our remotely operated vehicle close enough to it, it does have an actual camera that can see it, but you’ve got to be right on it in order to see it,” explained Sgt. Kaleb Stratton with the TWRA.
On Sunday night, Cheatham County Sheriff Tim Binkley told News 2 the boy had been found dead. His body, along with White’s body, will be brought to the medical examiner’s office.
“It hits close to home if you have kids, no matter what age they are, so we’re not doing anything different than we would normally do. We’re going to work this investigation and try to bring closure for the family. That’s what we’re here to do,” Stratton said.
Additional details surrounding this incident were not immediately provided.