A peaceful lake became the site of a tragedy when a 12-year-old Colorado girl died in a boating incident. In what police are calling a “terrible accident,” Zoe Anderson was run over by her father in a moment of inattention.
Anderson was learning how to waterski behind her family’s powerboat, on Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. Her father steered the boat around to pick her up after she fell, but got distracted for a moment when his hat blew off of his head.
While her father quickly realized his mistake, putting the boat into neutral, it still ran her over, causing her serious injury. The family quickly brought Zoe to the shore, and first responders attempted to revive her, but they were not successful. Zoe passed away before the emergency helicopter could arrive to transport her to a hospital.
The Andersons had traveled up from Colorado to visit relatives in the nearby town of Bridgewater.
Anderson’s entire family was in the boat at the time of the collision, including her parents Sherwood and Tonya Anderson, and her 14-year-old sister.
The accident was tragic, but not uncommon. Last year, according to the US Coast Guard, 701 people died in boating accidents, largely due to either drugs and alcohol or momentary inattention
The police do not intend to press charges against her father, seeing the death as a freak accident without criminal culpability.
Zoe’s community has been stricken by the loss of the vivacious girl. Community members have rallied around them, handling household chores and generously donating to the Go Fund Me set up for the family.
Her volleyball coach Pascal Guesses remembers her as a “happy, free-spirited” girl who “everybody loves.” He plans to retire her number for future seasons.
Members of her community church say that she was compassionate and kind, and “seemed to bounce everywhere she went.” Her absence will “leave a hole in [their] hearts.”
As Sgt. Joshua Dirth of the New Hampshire Marine Patrol said, “This is a tragedy in every sense of the word.”