Boater killed in collision with dredging vessel

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Department of Natural Resources police are continuing to investigate the boating accident that killed a Salisbury man last weekend.

Kenneth Randolph Vickers Jr. was killed when the 25-foot pleasure boat he was on with his wife, Flora, hit a pontoon dredge in the Wicomico River late Friday night.  He body was found about 10 hours later.

The investigation could be turned over to the state’s attorney’s office for further investigation, Candy Thomson, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources Police in Annapolis.

She said Vickers’ death was the 12th of 14 boating fatalities this year. Two more people in the Baltimore area died after Vickers’ accident, she said.

The accident happened when the boat 50-year-old Vickers was operating hit a pontoon dredge on the Wicomico River, ejecting Vickers into the water. His body was found in the Tony Tank Creek around 10 Saturday morning, Thomson said.

Thomson said his wife, 57-year-old Flora Vickers, said she saw the dredge right before impact and braced herself for the crash. When Vickers went overboard, Mrs. Vickers used her cell phone to call 911.


The impact caused her to slide into the console of the craft.  She was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center but her injuries were not serious, Thomson said. She had been released by Monday.

Thomson said red and amber lights on the dredge were lit and working. Dredge workers, who saw the accident, assisted Mrs. Vickers and called for help to have the boat towed.

Vickers’ body was sent to the medical examiner’s office in Baltimore for an autopsy and toxicology testing, which is normal procedure, Thomson said.

“We do an autopsy. That is standard procedure in a boating fatality. It’s handled the same way as a car fatality. We will determine the cause death. For example, did he have a heart attack? We want to know what happened,” she said.

The couple, out for the evening Friday, put the boat in the water at the Riverside boat ramp, traveled down river,  then up  to Brew River Restaurant.  Close to midnight they boarded the boat to head home, Thomson said.

A Brew River employee, reached by the Independent, checked with staff then said the restaurant staff would not comment.

The boat was towed to the Cherry Hill dock, then to the Riverside boat ramp and has been impounded. Thomson said it will be checked for malfunctions.

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