That’s how Adam Frugoli described his state of mind more than 24 hours after a Monday afternoon boating accident at Ririe Reservoir killed a Utah couple and left an Idaho Falls man hospitalized.
Frugoli, who witnessed the accident, said he didn’t initially fully comprehend what he saw at the reservoir east of Idaho Falls.
“I guess I wasn’t prepared to understand what was happening at the time,” Frugoli said.
Mike Kingston, 63, of Idaho Falls, was operating the boat in which Neal Jenkins, 68, and his wife, Elaine Jenkins, 65, of Centerville, Utah, were riding Monday, a Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office news release said. All three people were ejected while the boat was completing a turn on the water. The boat then struck the occupants as it turned in circles around them.
At first, witness Frugoli assumed the boat was circling to pick up a fallen skier. But once it was clear the boat was spinning out of control, he used his satellite phone to call police. The sheriff’s office told him to head to the road to wave down and guide emergency responders.
Frugoli said he saw the boat hit one of the passengers.
No one could dive in to help without putting themselves at risk. Other bystanders and boaters were trying to find a way to get on the boat and stop it.
After the boat ran out of gas and drifted to a stop, nearby boaters were able to reach all three people and start life-saving efforts on their way to the boat ramp.
Once emergency personnel arrived they began treatment and transported both men to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center — Kingston by Air Idaho Rescue helicopter and Neal Jenkins by Idaho Falls Ambulance.
Elaine Jenkins died from her injuries at the scene. Neal Jenkins died later Monday at the hospital. Kingston remained hospitalized Tuesday in serious condition.
Frugoli said the images from Monday’s accident are stuck in his head. His family went home without going on the water. He said he plans to take safety more seriously the next time he goes boating.
“It’s something that will probably haunt me forever,” he said.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information from anyone who might have witnessed the accident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Mike Vasquez through dispatch at 208-529-1200.