WATCH: Fishing boat passengers dive into frigid water as large motorboat slams into them; driver calls claims that he was on his cell phone ‘fake news’

The driver, who uses a motorized scooter on land, told police he couldn’t see what was in front of him because he was sitting down

Three people on a fishing boat barely escaped certain tragedy just before a speeding motorboat rammed into the much smaller fishing boat in Oregon’s Columbia River.

According to the Oregonian, two men and a woman were salmon fishing in August when they saw a motorboat driven by 75-year-old Marlin Lee Larsen coming straight for them. A GoPro camera mounted on the boat shows the passengers —¬†Bryan Maess, Christopher McMahon, and Roni Durham — frantically trying to signal to the boat speeding toward them before making the quick decision to dive from the boat, a decision that likely saved their lives.

Just a split second after the three friends jumped into the water, the motorboat plows into their fishing boat, crushing it.

The water of the Columbia River is cold year-round, rarely exceeding temperatures in the 60s even in the summertime. The trio suffered multiple injuries, including hypothermia, and Maess injured his ankle when he was hit by debris. He also reportedly suffers vision problems as a result of the accident.

Maess is reportedly suing Larsen for $372,500, claiming that the driver was using his cell phone when crashed into the fishing boat. Larsen was joined on the motorboat by his son-in-law, who reportedly told investigators that he had warned Larsen to pay attention and noticed him using his cell phone several times during the outing.

Larsen reportedly called the claims that he was distracted by his phone “fake news.” Instead, he told investigators that he could not see over the dash of the boat because he was sitting down. Larsen uses a motorized scooter for transportation on land, and conceded to police that he should have been standing while he was driving the boat.

Still, Larsen told the Oregonian the lawsuit was uncalled for since the fishermen and woman were not that badly injured.

According to the report, there are no existing laws in Oregon prohibiting cell phone use while boating, but there is a law against reckless operation.

Investigators reportedly accused Larsen of multiple crimes but it is unclear if he is currently facing charges. The other two passengers in the fishing boat have reportedly hired attorneys and plan to file lawsuits of their own.

 

[Feature image: New York Post video screenshot]