Local News


18-month-old girl fighting for life after boat capsizes on Lake Havasu

Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 23:43:18-04

A 18-month-old girl is fighting for her life after a boat capsized on Lake Havasu over the weekend.

Mohave County Sheriff’s Waterways deputies responded to a capsized boat accident in the north Basin near Site Six around 3:55 p.m. Saturday. While en route, dispatch advised that there was a baby unaccounted for. Upon arrival, on the shore north of Pittsburgh Point, deputies observed a 1995 Hurricane deck boat upside down in the water just off the shore.  

All occupants were on shore and saying the baby was still under the boat.  A deputy immediately jumped into the water wearing his diving gear. The deputy was having difficulty in getting under the boat as it was laying on the ground in the water. About 4 to 5 emergency personnel lifted the boat up on its side, while the deputy went underneath the boat and swept the baby out from underneath.  

A Mohave County Sheriff's Office Volunteer Boating Officer saw the baby and pulled her from the water. Lake Havasu Fire Department personnel immediately started administrating CPR on the 18-month-old girl while she was being transported on their vessel to Site Six for an awaiting ambulance.  

The infant was transported to Havasu Regional Medical Center and airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where she is currently listed in extremely critical condition.
Investigations determined the wind was blowing approximately 15 to 20 miles per hour from the northwest causing 2 to 4 foot waves to break on the shore.

The boat operator, Jose Ortega, 43, of El Centro, California, advised they were traveling to Crazy Horse campground from the south basin. Ortega further advised that they encountered rough waters including wind and waves as they traveled around Site Six. As they continued, the boat was taking on large waves over the bow.

Ortega instructed 5 to 6 people that were sitting in the front half of the boat to move to the rear half of the boat. The boat continued taking waves over the bow. Ortega turned toward shore trying to keep the bow up. As they approached shore, the boat capsized.  

There were 12 people onboard including the infant. All but two people were wearing lifejackets. The infant was wearing a lifejacket, however. The parents of the baby were onboard when the boat turned over.

Everyone on board are from California. No other injuries were reported. Alcohol in not believed to be a factor.  

This incident remains under investigation.