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Five killed after two boats crash in Georgia over Memorial Day weekend

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SAVANNAH, Ga. — Five people are dead after two boats collided on Saturday morning during the busy Memorial Day weekend in Georgia. 

Search and rescue teams on Sunday recovered the bodies of the three people missing from a Saturday morning boat crash on the Wilmington River, bringing the death toll to five after two people were confirmed dead on Saturday. Four other people were rescued. 

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, all three missing victims were located by game wardens at approximately 9:00 a.m. Sunday in 14-foot deep water and in close proximity to each other.

According to a Chatham Emergency Services spokesperson, two motorboats carrying nine passengers traveling in opposite directions collided at approximately 10:30 a.m. near the Oatland Island Wildlife Center docks in Savannah, Georgia. 

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Four of the five boaters killed were members of the same Savannah family: Chris Leffler and his wife, Lori, as well as their sons Nate and Zach. Their daughter Katie and her friend were among the surviving passengers. 

The Leffler’s boat was carrying six passengers and the other was carrying three.

Two boats carrying nine passengers collided near this bend in the Wilmington River on Saturday morning. Two of the boaters are dead and three are missing, according to the Chatham County Police Department.

Beyond the five fatalities, the four other passengers suffered minor injuries and were transported to Memorial Health Medical Center. One passenger was transported via a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

Emergency crews, including Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens, two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters, the Chatham County Marine Patrol, Savannah Fire and Chatham Emergency Services, responded to the crash. 

Chatham County Police Department officials have closed this stretch of the Wilmington River due to Saturday morning boat crash.

Additional details, including the cause of the crash, were not released. Authorities have closed a stretch of the river to investigate.

The incident is the second involving a fatal boat crash on the Wilmington River this month.

Saturday was the start of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest of the year for recreational boaters.

Follow Laura Nwogu on Twitter: @lauranwogu_



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