A MAN has been arrested in connection to a fatal boat crash that resulted in the deaths of five people.
Two boats collided head-on Saturday morning on the Wilmington River in Georgia.
Mark Christopher Stegall, 45, was charged with ‘boating under the influence’Credit: Chatham County Sheriff
The Leffler family was killed in the crash, their daughter Katie survivedCredit: Facebook
Immediately after the crash, two were confirmed dead while four passengers were injured and transported to the hospital.
Three bodies were pulled from the river Sunday, bringing the death toll to five.
The bodies were found at the bottom of the river near Savannah by Georgia and US Coast Guard divers.
The victims have been identified as Christopher Leffler, 51, his wife Lori, 50, and their sons Zachary 23, and Nathan, 17.
Robert Chauncey, 37, was also killed, according to WTOC.
Mark Christopher Stegall, 45, was charged with “boating under the influence” during the incident, said the Department of Natural Resources. His bond was set at $3,500.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated by the Georgia DNR.
The incident happened around 10:30am in a dangerous area on the river, near the Oakland Island Wildlife Center docks.
One of the boats had six people aboard while the second had three at the time of the collision, said Georgia DNR spokesman, Mark McKinnon.
A good Samaritan alerted the coast guard about the crash at 10:42am, sparking a rescue mission.
One person was able to be rescued via helicopter search. That person was airlifted to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah.
At least one of the survivors was in good condition, as confirmed by the Coast Guard.
The bodies of the other three deceased were found in “close proximity to each other,” said Sgt Cindy Miller of Georgia DNR.
Four of the five boaters belonged to the same family. The Lefflers are survived by their daughter, Katie, who was also on the boat with a friend.
Chris Leffler worked at the Calvary Day School near the area. An email from the school to WJCL, read: “We are saddened to report the death of our faculty member, Mr Chris Leffler, and his wife, Lori, who passed away from injuries sustained in a boating accident today. They are survived by their daughter, Katie.
“At this time, Chris’ son and rising senior, Nate, is missing along with his brother, Zach. We ask that you keep the Leffler family in your prayers.”
Earlier this month, a local businessman was killed on the Wilmington River when a boat he was on struck an unlit channel marker near the Savannah Yacht club on May 5.
The man was struck on the head by an unknown object, according to authorities.
As Memorial Day festivities continue and Americans travel to beaches and riverfronts, authorities are asking beachgoers and boaters to maintain safety protocols while in the water.
Five people were killed in total as a result of the Saturday crashCredit: USCG
Beachgoers are being warned to be mindful of safety precautions when out on the waterCredit: WJCL
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