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Boat crash at El Capitan Reservoir kills 2

Emergency crews have suspended their search for a missing boater ejected in a crash on El Capitan Reservoir Thursday night.
LAKESIDE (CBS 8) - Divers Friday discovered the body of a 20-year-old man who went missing following a two-boat collision on El Capitan Reservoir near Lakeside that killed his boating companion, authorities said.

San Diego Lifeguard Captain Nick Lerma says around 7:05 p.m. Thursday two boats collided in the waters killing one man, injuring two men and the search for another man turned into a recovery.

He says a Ranger brand brass boat carrying two passengers collided with a stationary boat deep in a cove where there is a no wake zone. The impact ejected two people from each boat.

"The Ranger [boat] according to witnesses was traveling at a high rate of speed and impacted a vessel that was stationary and drifting or anchored and all occupants were ejected from the vessels," said Lerma.

Bass fisherman Todd Holverson witnessed the tragic accident and describes the last moments before two boats crashed.

"They both raised their hands up, to me like it was fun and games or something. Then I turned my head and I heard them hit," Holverson said.

"It shot through the middle and it either launched right through and came over backwards or it hit and turned over and the other boat was destroyed. It was almost in half," Holverson said.

Investigators have updated information in the accident reporting two men in the speeding boat received numerous minor injury lacerations, which required hospitalization at Sharp.

On the other boat, a 21-year-old white male was brought to shore for CPR but died before he could be taken to a hospital.. The second man's body was recovered Friday afternoon. Several agencies are involved in the investigation. San Diego Police Department's Northern Division is handling the collision investigation.

Witnesses loading their boat say they saw all the commotion when the search started.

"I had just seen the [park] ranger flying down to the water, undo his boat and take off after the accident in the water," said Lynette Clark.

Her friend saw police stopping witnesses. They thought the people causing the accident were trying to flee. Investigators clarified they wanted witnesses to stay to give a statement. 

"They told these three guys, don't let them leave," said Sierra Noriega.

It's unclear if any of the passengers were wearing life vests, investigators believe speed caused the accident and wants all boaters to be aware of the waters.

"The cautionary tale here is you really have to keep your head on a swivel when you are operating a vessel. They can be dangerous," said Lerma.

The reservoir is about 10 feet deep and divers describe clear visibility. Investigators say they do not know if alcohol was a factor in the accident.


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