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Published: Thursday, 7/10/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

State report: Cause of April boating tragedy inconclusive

Bryan Huff Bryan Huff

OAK HARBOR, Ohio — Investigators say the cause of the April 16 boating incident that claimed the lives of four people on Lake Erie is inconclusive, according to a final report issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

Andrew Rose Andrew Rose

“Due to the fact that everyone on board died and there were no witnesses to the accident, the circumstances surrounding this accident are unknown,” reads the Watercraft Incident Casualty Report completed for the incident.

Paige Widmer Paige Widmer

The report was completed mid-June and reviewed earlier this month by a regional manager from the ODNR‘‍s Division of Watercraft. 

RELATED CONTENT: ODNR watercraft casualty report

Amy Santus Amy Santus

Alcohol was not a factor in the incident, the report said. There was no trauma on any of the bodies and minimal damage to the boat. Two stern motors were destroyed, among other minor cracks and damages to hardware. 

The incident occurred during a fishing trip the foursome took that day. The boat was found partially submerged in the lake, near Locust Point, the next morning. 

The passengers made their last contact from the boat at 6:35 p.m., April 16, the report said. At 9 p.m., families of the victims reported the vessel overdue.

The bodies of Amy Santus, 33, and Paige Widmer, 16, were found in the lake the day after the incident. Those of Bryan Huff, 32, and Andrew Rose, 33, were recovered in May.

The cause of death was drowning for all four victims, according to case summaries from the Ottawa County Coroner.

ODNR officials were not available for comment early today.

Toledo attorney Chad Tuschman, who is representing Ms. Widmer‘‍s family, declined to comment until he had viewed the full report.

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