Boat "just broke apart" in high-speed Lake Murray accident

A boat similar to the one officials say crashed
A boat similar to the one officials say crashed
Kariana Smith
Kariana Smith

LAKE MURRAY, SC (WIS) - A Department of Natural Resources rescue effort on Lake Murray has been changed to a recovery effort after a high-speed boat accident Sunday night.

DNR officials say the boat was going so fast it "just broke apart" around 8:00pm Sunday near Goat Island, in the big water of Lake Murray.

"It was a big wall of water. He was moving real fast, something like you'd see in the races, you know," said eyewitness David Rice.

Rice says the boat wiped out, then broke into pieces.

"You could hear the boat, then all of a sudden silence," said Rice. "We was looking for someone, but there was nothing but a boat."

Now investigators are looking for the people on board. DNR officials say the boat belongs to 37-year-old Kevin Blount.

Family members of 23-year-old Kariana Smith of Lexington say she was in the boat with Blount.

Smith's father told WIS News 10 she spent the day on the lake with a friend, then Blount offered her a ride in his speedboat.

WIS found pictures of a boat similar to the one officials pulled out of the water on a website owned by Blount, a Prosperity real estate agent.

DNR officials haven't confirmed whether the man driving the boat was Blount, or whether the boat shown on the website is the one that crashed.

They do say, however, that a boat like the one that crashed is designed for speed.

"The driver is in the front, the passenger behind. It's like the cockpit of an F-16, that's a good way to compare it," DNR spokesman Robert McCullough told WIS News 10. "I think they'll do in excess of 100 miles per hour."

While the cause of this wreck is unclear, the DNR says sometimes high speeds break the boat's seal and breaks it into pieces.

The boat wreckage is now covered up at a dock, its passengers still missing. The area divers are searching is 30 to 40 feet deep, and officials say it's unlikely they'll find anyone alive.

Divers are doing a grid search of the area where they believe the two people went under. They searched until dark Monday night, and will resume the recovery effort in the morning.

Count on wistv.com to bring you the latest information as it develops.

Reported by Jennifer Wilson

Posted by Logan Smith