CHEROKEE LAKE — A Kingsport man was hospitalized with possible broken bones early Sunday morning after the boat he was riding in apparently struck a rock on Cherokee Lake in Hamblen County.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office was initially dispatched to investigate the accident, which occurred about 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Tony Wayne Hodges, 23, of Church Hill, was reported as the operator of a 19Â½-foot Stratos, and his passenger was David Trent, 23, of Kingsport.
Someone on the boat reportedly contacted family members after the accident via cell phone, but for a period afterward no one was able to contact the boaters again on their phone. Family members contacted Hawkins County 911, which dispatched a deputy to locate the accident so that Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency rescuers could be dispatched.
The accident occurred near Three Springs Dock on Cherokee Reservoir in Hamblen County.
Trent was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center for treatment. TWRA spokesman Allen Ricks didn’t know the extent of Trent’s injuries, although Hawkins County 911 dispatchers stated over the radio it was a possible broken arm and broken leg.
Hodges was not injured.
Ricks said that although the accident is still under investigation, no alcohol use was suspected, and no charges are pending.
Drought mixed with sporadic heavy rains cause lake levels to fluctuate daily, and Ricks said boaters need to be extra careful.
“Boaters need to watch where they’re going and keep their speed down,” Ricks said. “An obstacle like a rock or tree trunk that wasn’t there yesterday might be there today because the lake levels are falling. Extra care needs to be taken on Cherokee because there are no navigation markers.
“The navigable lakes from Knoxville on down have channel markers, but up here there aren’t any. And with these lakes — the way they fall — you need to be observant and keep a good lookout.”