5 lifeless in Georgia boat collision, our bodies of lacking victims recovered by divers

Georgia boat collision. https://www.wjcl.com/article/multiple-patients-being-treatment-after-boat-crash/40132861.


Five people were killed and four others injured after a boat collision in Georgia Saturday morning, according to authorities, who said on Sunday they recovered three bodies from the Wilmington River.

Mark McKinnon, public affairs officer for the Law Enforcement Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, told PEOPLE that Georgia wildlife wardens were responding to a boating incident near the docks of the Oatland Island Wildlife Center, where Richardson Creek and the Wilmington River meet in Chatham meet county.

Witnesses told authorities that two center console boats carrying nine combined passengers – six in one vessel and three in the other – collided head-on and headed in opposite directions. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene and three were initially missing, McKinnon said.

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The bodies were later recovered by divers from the Chatham County Marine Patrol.

“The three missing victims were recovered this morning, bringing the death toll to five,” McKinnon confirmed in a statement. “The other four passengers sustained various injuries and were transported to Memorial Health Medical Center in Savannah.”

The deceased have been identified as Christopher David Leffler, 51, of Savannah; Lori Lynn Leffler, 50, of Savannah; Zachary James Leffler, 23, of Alpharetta; Nathan Leffler, 17, of Savannah; and Robert Steven Chauncey, 37, of Savannah.

Game wardens, the Chatham County Marine Patrol, Savannah Fire, Chatham Emergency Services and the United States Coast Guard immediately began searching for the missing victims using sector scan sonar and divers and recovered the final body early Sunday morning.

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The bodies were found in close proximity to each other in about 14 feet of water, according to McKinnon. Two helicopters were also deployed to assist in the search.

McKinnon said the cause of the crash is unknown and is being investigated by the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Critical Incident Reconstruction Team. Georgia DNR expects the investigation to take six to eight weeks.