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Water scooters collide near Hudson Channel; one man injured

HUDSON BEACH — A water scooter collision Wednesday afternoon sent a 21-year-old man to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

The collision involved Jonathan Munnerlyn and his cousin, Chris Bechtol, who were circling near the Hudson Channel in their Sea-Doos. Both were ejected by the impact.

"I was up in the air," Bechtol, 22, told a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer at the scene. "All I saw was water."

When he surfaced, he saw Munnerlyn's leg was broken and bleeding. Bechtol wasn't injured.

Munnerlyn used his cell phone to call his parents, then 911. He got back on top of his water scooter, but it wouldn't work.

Bechtol said he tried to tow his cousin, but a rope tangled in the machine and it quit. So Bechtol tried to drag his cousin's water scooter to shore by walking it in. It was low tide, the water shallow.

"You'll be okay, man," Bechtol said he told his cousin, who was in shock. "We're going to get some help." He said he tried to not to get emotional.

"I would have scared him more if I wasn't calm," Bechtol said.

A Fish and Wildlife boat rescued the cousins. Munnerlyn was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, said Gary Morse, Fish and Wildlife spokesman.

Bechtol and Munnerlyn live in Hudson and both were wearing their life jackets, Morse said. The crash is under investigation.

Water scooters collide near Hudson Channel; one man injured 08/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 7:12pm]

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