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Grant County authorities ID water skiing accident fatality

GRANT COUNTY - A boating crash that killed a 28-year-old water-skier on Lake Williamstown on Friday afternoon appears to be an accident, according to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officials, reports NKY.Com, the on-line edition of the Kentucky Enquirer.

Authorities said Grant Griffith, of Dry Ridge, was killed instantly about 2:30 p.m. when he fell off his skis and was hit by another boat pulling two people on a tube in a narrow channel.

That boat operator, Cathy Kuester, 52, of Cincinnati, has not been charged, said Officer Mick Craig. The investigation will continue for a few more days.

Kuester, an experienced operator, was going slowly because one of the people riding the tube was a very young girl who was afraid to go fast, Craig said.

The slowness of the boat lifted the front, keeping Kuester from seeing what was in front of her, he said.

Nine people - three below the allowed capacity - were on Kuester's boat and all were wearing life jackets. There was no alcohol on Kuester's boat and she volunteered to take a portable breathalyzer test showing she was sober, Craig said.

"It was just one of those things. If the skier had been two or three feet to the right or left, he would still be alive," he said.

"There is nothing you can point your finger at other than maybe she just couldn't see. She didn't know anybody was in front of her."

The small city-owned lake is prone to accidents because of its size and popularity, Craig said.

The long July 4 holiday weekend puts more people on a lake that doesn't have any restrictions on boat motor size, making it more dangerous, he said.

"We probably have as many accidents on this lake in Northern Kentucky than we do anywhere else, bar none," Craig said. Officers would have their work cut out for them this weekend, he said.

"It's more and more crowded with the Ohio being so muddy right now and a lot of people wanting to get onto the lake this weekend," he told NKY.Com, the on-line version of the Kentucky Enquirier.

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