published Friday, April 11th, 2014

Watts Bar boating accident kills one, injures one

A single-vessel boating accident left an Ohio man dead and a Spring City, Tenn., man injured near a Meigs County campground on Watts Bar Lake Thursday afternoon.

Brookville, Ohio, resident Thomas Brombaugh, 70, was killed after the Ranger bass boat he was riding in with Spring City resident Gerald Jean, 67, capsized in a slough on the east side of the lake, said Dan Hicks, spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Meigs County dispatchers said the 911 call came in at 1:29 p.m. Thursday, and TWRA officials were dispatched to the scene near Hornsby Hollow Campground on Red Cloud Road along the lake shore north of the Ten Mile community.

"They were in a Ranger bass boat and the boat capsized and witnesses called authorities," Hicks said from the scene. "The vessel is at the dead end of Red Cloud Road in a little slough, upside down."

Hicks said Jean was taken to Rhea Medical Center in Dayton, Tenn., for treatment of unspecified injuries. He didn't know if there were other passengers in the boat when the accident happened.

Witnesses who were painting a house near the shore told authorities they heard the boat's motor revving and looked to see it had overturned, leaving the propeller out of the water, Hicks said.

The witnesses ran to help get the victims out of the water, but Brombaugh was already dead, he said.

Officials haven't determined who was driving the boat or whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Hicks said neither man was wearing a life jacket.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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