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U.S. to investigate fatal boat crash

Investigators on Monday were trying to sort out how a pleasure craft with 13 people aboard collided with a Coast Guard patrol boat in San Diego Bay during a holiday boat parade, leaving an 8-year-old boy dead.

The accident cast a grim shadow over San Diego’s annual Christmas tradition, which features fireworks and scores of boats with holiday lights and decorations.

Those on the pleasure boat had come to watch the festivities Sunday night when the accident occurred.

Anthony Cole DeWeese, 8, of San Diego was pronounced dead shortly after the crash, and five other people, including two children, were injured.

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Coast Guard officials declined to provide specifics about the collision, saying it was under investigation. But DeWeese’s father, Alan DeWeese, 44, said he believes the 33-foot Coast Guard vessel was going at a high rate of speed.

In an interview with the Associated Press, DeWeese estimated that the Coast Guard boat was traveling at 35 mph to 45 mph and that his boat was going only about 3 1/2 mph.

“I thought he was going to turn at some point,” he said. “He came up so fast I didn’t have time to react.”

DeWeese said his family and friends had just finished watching the fireworks at the Parade of Lights and were waiting for the boat procession to begin. He said the Coast Guard boat came from behind.

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“He was the only boat that was going so fast in the harbor,” he said. “His bow was up way high.”

The crash occurred at 6 p.m Sunday, after the sun had set. Officials said weather conditions were clear with light winds at the time of the accident.

Six of the passengers aboard the pleasure craft, including Anthony DeWeese, were taken to hospitals after the accident. Other than the fatality, the extent of their injuries was not released, although authorities said three adults were taken to the hospital with reports of major injuries.

Five people were aboard the Coast Guard vessel, none of whom was injured, authorities said.

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Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said there were no preliminary reports about what may have caused the crash and that four investigators traveled from Washington, D.C., to San Diego on Monday to begin collecting information about the wreck.

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com


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