It seems like it happens almost every week — a boating accident or a boater goes missing. A moment of fun and enjoyment turns tragic in just seconds. Usually, it involves a smaller boat and people not wearing life jackets. It can happen to anybody. This weekend, tragedy struck again, this time and Toledo Bend. And three boaters out for a good time lost their lives.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred July 30.
LDWF agents were notified around 10 a.m. on July 30 about three overdue boaters on Toledo Bend. According to a witness, the three men launched a 14-foot vessel around 10:30 p.m. on July 30 at the Hwy. 1215 boat launch. The bodies of Paul L. Murphy Jr., 46, of Opelousas, Joseph L. Sam Jr., 44, of Opelousas, James F. Young, 40, of Lafayette, were recovered from Toledo Bend. The body of Murphy Jr. was recovered around 12:45 p.m. wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) on July 31 near Stonewall Jackson Dr. The bodies of Sam Jr. and Young we’re recovered around 7 a.m. on Aug. 1 without wearing PFDs.
The search is continuing for the vessel. It is unknown at this time what happened to cause the men to enter the water and their boat to sink.
Don’t take chances out there. Wear your life jacket, especially when the boat is in motion, even if you are a good swimmer. Enjoy the outdoors, but respect the risks as well.
Be safe out there.