Boating Accidents

What’s Unusual About a Recent Boat Accident Victim Rescue? The Victim was a Dog


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Dog paddling with life jacketBoat accidents are common during this time of year, when the weather gets warm, skies are clear and kids are off of school. But while there are certain things boaters can do to keep safe during water-related activities, including wearing life jackets, refraining from drinking alcohol, and learning about area boating laws, there isn’t a whole lot that can be taught to boaters when those boaters happen to have four legs and a furry coat.

The latest boat accident victim happens to be an Alaskan dog named Cutie. But luckily, this accident has a happy ending. Cutie, a 30-pound Labrador and terrier mix, survived four days out on the Chena River while trapped under a 17-foot boat she was riding in that had overturned.

Cutie had been riding with Jeremy McDonald, 34, John and Billy Minerva, ages 35 and 25. Cutie’s owner and John Minerva’s girlfriend, Grace Sommer, was not on the boat when the accident occurred. As the men were enjoying themselves, they came upon a raft that had become stuck against a bridge and tried to offer assistance, when their boat turned over.

Water then started coming into the boat, keeping it from flipping back over. But despite the perilous situation, all three men were able to make it back to shore. There was only one problem – Cutie was nowhere to be found.

Too dangerous to go back for Cutie and thinking she probably didn’t survive anyway, the group decided to wait a few days before returning to the area where the accident occurred. Even a human trained to survive a river accident can experience severe injuries or may even be killed, much less a small dog that knows nothing of maritime safety or emergency situations.

McDonald was the first to look for Cutie, and was prepared for the worse. But when he reached the boat, he was met with a huge surprise. Not only was Cutie alive, but she wasn’t even hurt!

McDonald shared the story with the media, explaining his shock when he got up by the side of the boat and there was Cutie, barking like nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  He called it nothing short of a “miracle.”

Once he saw Cutie was alive and well, he gathered the group and the three men hooked a rope to the boat to turn it over and release the dog, which walked away from the vessel shaking and scared. Considering the traumatic boat accident she was just in, who would blame her?

Everyone was ecstatic to have Cutie back and while she was a little sore for a few days, she is doing fine. Luck was definitely on Cutie’s side.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for other boaters who are injured or killed in accidents on rivers, lakes or large bodies of water. Boating season is here and the chances of an accident occurring is now much higher. However, by abiding by proper state boating laws, major incidents can be avoided.


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