Teen struck, killed by boat propeller in Greenwich

GREENWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Police said four Greenwich High School teens went on the Long Island Sound for a day of tubing. Now one is dead and another in the hospital.

“At some point some of the maneuvers that took place with the boat and the tubes, the vessel slowed or stopped. The girls’ tube continued forward and they became entangled in the propeller,” said Greenwich Police’s Lt. Kraig Gray.

Harbormaster Ian Macmillan said that after it happened the girls rushed to the Old Greenwich Yacht Club dock and a launch-man on duty tried to help them. He called 911. Macmillan said police arrived immediately.

“We believe this is nothing more than a horrifically tragic accident and alcohol doesn’t appear to be part of it,” said Gray.

Gray said one 16-year-old-girl was pronounced dead on the scene. Another was rushed to Stamford hospital with a gash to her leg and it needed extensive stitching.

“We saw a lot of ambulances pull into the harbor and we wanted to come, but they stopped us,” said Greenwich High School student Ryan Philips. He was riding his bike with his friend Matthew Lanagan along the water.

The teen who died was entering her junior year at Greenwich High School. The Superintendent of Schools William S. McKersie issued a statement. “This evening, we are mourning the devastating loss of one of our Greenwich High School students, a rising junior, who was involved in a boating accident today on the Long Island Sound. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time of tragedy. There are few words that can express the deep compassion we feel for the family of the young girl that has died and for the three other girls involved in the accident.  The Greenwich Public School community is ready to support the girls involved and their families in every way possible,” he said.

“The names of the girls are being withheld pending notification of family members. Although school is not in session, we will make counselors available for the school communities at the appropriate time.”

Phillips said, “That’s just scary. That’s what I’ve been thinking about.  It could be one of my best friends or something.”

“It’s just such a shame,” said Joseph Hliva, who takes his sailboat on these waters often and oftentimes notices how risky tubing can be.

“It’s not that people are acting badly. They simply are engaging in a dangerous sport,” said Greenwich sail boater Maureen Johnson.

It’s a sport teens say is popular at Greenwich high school. Many of their friends have their own boats.

“We were just tubing yesterday and we were about to go today too and we heard about this,” said Greenwich High School sophomore Matthew Lanagan.

Police said they’ve notified next of kin, but they’re waiting for the extended family to be told before they release the name of the girl who died.

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