NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 23-year-old woman died Sunday while celebrating her birthday on Old Hickory Lake.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Captain Dale Grandstaff told News 2 the woman slipped off a boat on the lake and hit her head.
Her body was recovered from the water around 9 p.m., according to Captain Grandstaff.
The Hendersonville Fire Chief, Scotty Bush said the victim is Madison Renee Shipley. Police investigated and determined the death accidental. They believe Shipley hit her head on the boat and went straight down into the water. Shipley moved to Sumner County just two months ago.
“Statewide, we’ve had 24 fatalities this year with two coming this weekend. One was on Watts Bar Reservoir on Saturday and one locally yesterday in Drakes Creek,” explained Captain Grandstaff.
“People just wanna come out and have a good time and it’s the place to come and have fun with your friends. But the water is a dangerous place and if you’re not careful things like drownings are going to happen. No matter how many officers, things are going to happen, so we try to at least be a deterrent to watch for the drinking and reckless operation,” continued Captain Grandstaff.
Because of COVID-19, there has been an increase in the number of boaters on area lakes this summer, and this weekend was no exception.
“A lot of COVID aftermath with people’s vacations being canceled, and plans getting canceled, on the waterways we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of traffic,” explained TWRA Boating Officer Clay Hetland.
The TWRA said since there have been several accidents and fatalities this summer, they are gearing up their patrols.
“We’ll have multiple officers out on the lake here every day, three or four boats out here every day,” noted Hetland, “We’re going to be patrolling, and we’re going to be really watching or those impaired drivers, for those individuals who should not be driving the boat out here on the water. And then when they get back to the boat ramp, they’re going to be getting into a vehicle. So we’re going to try to stop that out on the water before that would ever happen.”
Hetland said the most important thing you can do on the water is wear a life jacket.
“The one thing that I can stress is, how important wearing a life jacket is out here on the water. The fatalities we’ve had, unfortunately, when they jumped or fell into the water, they were not wearing a life jacket. So again, I can’t express how important it is to wear that life jacket. Any child twelve years or younger has to wear one at all times while the boat is in motion, underway.”
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.