Tennessee Officials Recover Bodies Of Father, 9-Year-Old Son After Jet Ski Fatally Strikes Barge

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Kate Hirzel Contributor
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A father and his 9-year-old son lost their lives when their jet ski collided with a barge on a Tennessee waterway Saturday night.

The jet ski, operated by 36-year-old Steven White, struck a barge being towed by a tow boat at approximately 7:45 p.m., The Tennessean reported. Crew members on the tow boat reportedly promptly launched a vessel into the water and alerted authorities. White was unresponsive and later pronounced dead after rescue team members brought him to land.

The search for his son began immediately.


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The Cheatham County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Coast Guard worked to assist in search and recovery efforts for the son, the local outlet reported. The father and son were both reportedly wearing life jackets during the crash. (RELATED: Boat Explodes In Popular Summer Vacation Spot, Injuring 16 People And Sending Several To Hospital)

Officials searched Saturday evening until 1 a.m. and continued Sunday morning. The boy’s mother was hopeful authorities would be able to find her son. 

“She’s down there waiting for her little boy,” Mary Felts, a Cheatham County resident, told WSMV. “She won’t leave until they find him.”

The 9-year-old’s body was found in at 6:40 p.m. Sunday evening, per WSMV.

The incident is still under investigation. There have been 22 boating fatalities in Tennessee in 2023, WSMV noted.