2 Injured After Boat Flips Near Fiesta Island

Two people were listed in critical condition late Tuesday after their fast-moving boat bounced up off the water, flipped backward and crashed about 150 feet off Fiesta Island, police said.

The injured, identified as Lois Stiehm and John Sachler, were taken by Life Flight helicopter to UC San Diego Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said late Tuesday that she did not have details on their injuries.

Stiehm, who had an Alabama driver's license, is apparently in her late 20s; Sachler appears to be in his 30s, said a hospital spokeswoman. No home addresses were immediately available.

The pair were injured shortly after 5:30 p.m. after their boat bounced off the water several times and flipped backward, said Officer Allen Black of the Mission Bay Harbor Patrol.

Black quoted witnesses as saying the boat was speeding north-northwest when the accident occurred near a government radio beacon. He said witnesses' accounts vary on whether the boat exploded while in the air or on impact after it flipped over.

Black, the first official to arrive on the scene, said he found the victims lying close to shore, "half in and half out of the water." Stiehm and Sachler apparently swam ashore, where a witness flagged down a nearby California Highway Patrol car for help, Black said.

The officer also said Stiehm sustained facial injuries and a broken left leg. Sachler had a hip injury, a broken right leg and complained about a lack of feeling from the middle of his chest down to his feet.

"I had the impression that they had both been drinking," Black said. "I could smell alcohol on their breath."

Divers will try today to recover the wreckage of the boat, Black said.

But all that was left late Tuesday were fragments of the boat, said Bryan Mole, a Long Beach resident who came to the scene after the rescue.

"There were three pieces left--a seat, a piece of fiberglass and another part of a seat," Mole said.

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