PAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A lawsuit filed in federal court in Phoenix blames a tour boat company for creating dangerous wakes in Lake Powell, causing a Utah woman to suffer a broken back.

[VIDEO: One couple gets firsthand experience of the hazards of boating]

The suit, which was filed late last year, claims Aramark negligently operated one of its tour boats on Labor Day, creating a large wake that threw Christine Gilmour into the air. Gilmour was riding in a smaller boat with her husband and children.

"As I was going up, the boat was going down. Then they hit the next wave and the boat comes up as I'm coming down and I hit with such force it was like being in a car collision," said Gilmour.

Her husband, Gregory, was a Lt. Commander in the Chilean Navy and believes Aramark is using boats that are not suited for use in a lake.

"These have 'V' hulls, right?" said Gregory Gilmore. He says those deep hulls can create large, dangerous wakes, in narrow waterways like those in parts of Lake Powell.

This is not the first time Aramark's boats have been linked to injuries on Lake Powell.

"It's the second time in four years within 4200 yards of the same place that this type of accident has happened. The exact same boat. The exact same captain. The exact same mechanism and the exact same injury," said Joe Watkins, who is the Gilmours' attorney.

A spokesman for Aramark said the company is unable comment on this particular case because it is in litigation, but he did offer a statement about the company's boats.

"We work with the Coast Guard and National Park Service on an ongoing basis to ensure our tour boats are safe and properly permitted to operate on Lake Powell. Furthermore, as a designated concessioner for Lake Powell, we take seriously our responsibility for complying with rules regulating tour boat operations and safely sharing and navigating the waterways with all boaters and recreational watercraft users," wrote David Freireich, from Aramark's corporate communications department.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 


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(12) comments

ksla4

It's amazing how many people comment rudely about boating & knowing how to boat & the rules of the lake when they have no idea the scenario of how it is up at Lake Powell. Years ago when the water at Lake Powell decreased a lot you had to go thru the very narrow channels to enter the big water as it was the only way to enter or exit. I'm not sure where the water level is currently. However, my whole family have been avid boaters our whole lives & have grown up boating, & can maneuver thru almost anything. We were in the channel in our speed boat heading back the marina & a tour boat came by us & had pretty large waves, no biggie, just watched carefully & maneuvered to boat. But then it was only 5 minutes later another tour boat came thru past us. By the time the waves reached us there were waves going all different directions & they were huge! My husband maneuvered the boat properly & just as he should & there was no controlling how huge the waves were & we slammed down & my sister broke her back. Needless to say, when we got the marina there were people there waiting for us & an ambulance. I rode in the front with the ambulance driver & he said he knew exactly what it was when they got the call because they have at least 5 people that break their backs a week going thru those channels with the tour boats waves. What happens is the channel is so narrow & the tour boats go thru & their wake takes a solid 20 minutes to dissipate, so when a second one comes thru prior to the 20 minutes it just makes it unbearable in there for boaters & extremely dangerous. I was told they also had a number smaller boats that actually capsized & sank because of the large waves. However, after returning to Phoenix & friends hearing about my sister, we found out just the week before a couple she knew, a week before BOTH of them broke their backs & my nieces friend had just broke his back while being there 3 weeks prior. It's just CRAZY. Finally, I would like to say that my sister never ever contacted them for anything & she actually got a call from the tour companies lawyer whom was contacting people who were injured & offering to pay their medical bills. So, they obviously KNOW there is a problem. It has nothing to do with driving a boat or maneuvering a boat. So before you go spouting off saying terrible things, maybe you should know the circumstance!

andthesurveysays

I'm not sure how many of the readers here have been on Powell when this tour boat passes you bye. I have and it's not pretty. First, the tour boat is very big, and probably can accommodate 150 people. Second, from what I have seen it travels about 26 knots (not slow by any means for a boat this size on an inland lake), and third, it creates a wake of 4-5 feet high, and IS THE largest wake you will encounter on any AZ lake. In fact, jet skiers follow this boat and crisscross behind just to jump the wake and get some serious air. I've seen it. Unless you are ready for this boat when it approaches and holding on tight, it can toss you right over or injury you if you are lucky enough to remain on the boat. Its a big, big wave, and I'm not surprised by the reports of injuries. There are no doubt plenty others not reported. Now, you've been warned [beam]

Phillup Witgas

Or don't go out on your boat unless you know how to navigate around wakes.

Robs

Lakes n boats have rules , just like cars and higjways , who was in the right and who was in the wrong per them here. If no one, then none to blame. It was the risk of the game.[scared]

JR in glendale

If you're not going to pay attention, don't go out on the water. If you don't know how to navigate your boat around other vessels, don't go out on the water. If you don't know how to balance yourself when the water isn't calm, don't get in the boat. And if you are injured because you don't know what you're doing, then I guess you just blame somebody else for your mistake.

Fritz

I agree with what you are saying but managing your own wake is also part of boating responsibly. The captain of the tour boat does a terrible job of it from what I've heard from people who spend a lot of time on Powell. It was only a matter of time before he caused some serious injuries to another boater...

MyOwnMind

gotta blame someone. Should have let her drown.

Mike57

same captain ? FIre him . Sue company .

JF Conlon

In realspeak 4200 yards is almost two and a half miles. Weasel Words!

Agustus Gloop

Poorly written but after reading this line a few times I believe there have been other similar accidents all within 4200 yards. "It's the second time in four years within 4200 yards of the same place that this type of accident has happened."

Fritz

What if it would've been 4201 yards? That's what I'm wondering.

Robs

[ohmy]

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