UPDATE: SHASTA LAKE: 7-year-old girl, hit by family member on speeding PWC, dies

UPDATE: Saturday, Aug. 13, 11:45 p.m.

SHASTA LAKE — Unsafe speed has been cited as a contributing factor in an accident between a swimmer and a rented personal water craft that killed a 7-year-old girl Saturday afternoon, Aug. 13. The deadly accident reportedly happened in a cove, northwest of Slaughterhouse Island on the Sacramento River Arm of Shasta Lake.

The young girl, whose identity has not been released, died when she was struck by a personal water craft that was traveling near a houseboat where she was swimming.

Shasta County sheriff’s deputies responded to the accident around noon, after they were notified regarding the deadly collision. When they arrived, deputies found the victim’s family performing CPR on her.

Deputies quickly determined the girl had sustained major, traumatic injuries and required immediate medical intervention and life saving measures. Deputies rushed the victim to Bridge Bay Resort where a waiting ambulance picked her up and transported her to Mercy Medical Center.

In spite of life saving efforts, the victim succumbed to her injuries and she was pronounced dead by hospital staff.

Deputies from Shasta County Sheriff’s Boating Safety Unit conducted an accident investigation, during which they determined Phong Ly, 29, of San Jose, was operating a rented personal watercraft on the lake and was heading back to a houseboat when the accident happened.

Ly, who was reportedly traveling at an unsafe speed, smashed into the swimming victim as well as the nearby houseboat.

After colliding with the young swimmer and the houseboat, Ly reportedly jumped into the water and helped pull the gravely injured victim onto the houseboat. Officials did not specify if the victim was wearing a life vest when she was struck or how Ly was related to the victim.

It was also not yet known if Ly had been recklessly operating the personal watercraft or if he lost control of the watercraft while approaching the houseboat.

Ly is reportedly cooperating with the investigation, which is active and ongoing.

According to one sheriff’s official, today’s tragic accident was this summer’s fifth fatality at the popular lake. Two of the deaths involved minors, including 12-year-old Austin Strole who was fatally struck by a boat being driven by a 16-year-old girl in early July and 7-year-old Julian Zamora drowned just days later. The other two deaths were attributed to adults with health related issues.

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.



SHASTA LAKE — Officials have responded to and are investigating reports of a major injury, boating-related accident involving a swimmer and a personal watercraft. The accident happened in an unknown cove near Slaughterhouse Island on the Sacramento River Arm of Shasta Lake.

Few details are known yet about the accident, other than the swimmer suffered major injuries after being struck by the personal watercraft.

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.


Contact the writer: [email protected]

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 13 – soon to be 14 – grandchildren.