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Child Dies in Boating Accident in Hancock County

April 3, 2011
For Immediate Release

***Clarification:*** Child Dies in Boating Accident in Hancock County

BILOXI, Miss. — Two recreational boats collided head-on in Rotten Bayou near the Jourdan River north of Interstate 10 in Hancock County on Saturday, resulting in the death of a 4-year-old boy. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Marine Patrol officers Bryan Wallace and Johnny Ladner were dispatched to the scene at 5:44 p.m. When DMR marine patrol officers arrived on the scene, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and Diamondhead Fire and Rescue were on scene and briefed the officers of the situation. Four-year old Blake Richardson of Bay St. Louis, who sustained critical injuries, was transported to Hancock Medical Center by American Medical Response. He was pronounced dead at Hancock Medical Center at 11:37 p.m. April 2. An autopsy was conducted today by Hancock County Coroner Nora Stiglet. ***The boy, who was wearing a life jacket, was one of three people on the boat.*** The operator of the boat, a 19-foot Critchfield skiff, was William Richardson, the boy’s uncle. Mark Richardson, the boy’s father was a passenger. Both men sustained minor injuries. ***No one onboard the 19-foot Critchfield skiff was ejected.***

The other boat, a 22-foot Boston Whaler, operated by George Brower II, had a total of six people onboard. When the two boats collided, the six occupants of the Boston Whaler were ejected from the boat and sustained minor injuries. They got back in the boat and went back to the scene. A good Samaritan in an airboat came upon the scene and transported the boy, Blake Richardson, to Devil’s Elbow in Diamondhead where they were met by Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Diamondhead Fire and Rescue and American Medical Response.

DMR marine patrol officers conducted initial interviews. They went to Hancock Medical Center and interviewed Mark Richardson, the father of the boy. They also interviewed George Brower, the operator of the other vessel at his residence. DMR took possession of the vessels for investigative purposes. In conjunction with the investigation as a precautionary measure, a chemical test of both vessel operators’ blood was taken pending results of the Mississippi Crime Lab.

The accident is under investigation by the DMR Marine Patrol and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at

Contact: Lauren Thompson
Phone: 228-219-5226

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