Second boy dies after Grainger County marina electrical accident

Second boy dies after Grainger County marina electrical accident

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A meter to the boat and part of the boat itself were taped off Thursday as evidence. A meter to the boat and part of the boat itself were taped off Thursday as evidence.

BEAN STATION (WATE) - The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency continues investigating the electrical accident that killed two boys at a Grainger County marina.

Noah Winstead, 10, of Morristown, was electrocuted while climbing a house boat ladder at the German Creek Dock in Bean Station on Wednesday. His friend, 11-year-old Nate Lynam, also of Morristown, was with Winstead and was critically injured. He died Thursday night after 7:00 at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

A girl was injured as well and treated at the hospital. The children were wearing life vests, but Matt Cameron, with TWRA, says in this case, he doesn't know if it helped them or harmed them.

The accident also injured eight other people who tried to rescue the boys.

"It seems like the electrical current may have been centered around the surface of the water. So when the adults went in, they were able to regain their composure and get away from it," Cameron said. "I don't know if because the children were floating on the surface, if it made them more susceptible to the current or not."

Sheriff Scott Layel says someone shut down the breaker on the boat. "If the breaker hadn't been pulled, we could have had possibly eight deaths," he said.

The dock reopened Thursday. Officials say electricity is running to all meters except for the 36-foot-long 1973 Gibson fiberglass houseboat involved in the accident. It's owned by the 11-year-old boy's grandfather.

A meter to the boat and part of the boat itself were taped off Thursday as evidence. Sheriff Layel says frayed wires were found beneath the stairs.

"When the source is identified, we'll see what boat it's coming from, if it's coming from the dock, what the problem is," Cameron said. "And if there is any kind of criminal charges, we will take it to the DA's office and go with their guidance."

TWRA is waiting on an electrical specialist to inspect the area and find the source of the current. They're unsure when the inspection will be done.

The two boys who were killed in the incident had just finished up the fourth grade at Cornerstone Academy. Noah Winstead was celebrating his birthday on the 4th. Nate Lynam's birthday was the 3rd.

Both families also attended First Baptist Church in Morristown. The church held a prayer service for the victims on Thursday.

"We thought this was a good time to come and pray together and pray for the families and the community because they have lots of friends," said family friend Patti Hill.

"We go to a different church, but we just felt like we were needed here to give our prayers," said Cathy King, another friend. "I'm just heartbroken for the parents. I just can't imagine getting up and starting another day."

The family of Nate Lynam released this statement about his passing:

"The family of Nate Lynam is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, prayers, and support from family, friends, and the community. It is the family's wish that the tragedy that claimed his life not be what defines it.  Nate was a loving son, a loyal brother, and a kind and respectful young man. If there is anything newsworthy in this tragedy it is this: Nate and his friend, Noah, loved Jesus and trusted in Him.  The family finds great comfort in knowing that they will be reunited one day in Heaven."

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