SUNSET BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – The Brunswick County Coroner’s Office has identified the father and son that died in a jet ski accident Friday in Sunset Beach.
According to officials, John Wernowsky, 51, of Acworth, Georgia was driving the jet ski that hit the pier at the Sunset Beach Wildlife Resource Commission Boat Ramp. His son Jake, 10, also passed away from injuries suffered in the crash. The family was at Sunset Beach on vacation when the accident happened. The mother and daughter were on another jet ski and witnessed everything.
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“You just hate to see bad things happen to such good people,” said Brandon Dean, a wildlife officer. “This was a good family from the short time I dealt with them I could tell they were a close family, and I just, I’m sorry, God Bless them.”
The mother and daughter had already come up to the dock on their jet ski. Wernowsky and his son were on a second jet ski, they both grabbed onto the dock and during the process officers believe someone hit the throttle causing the jet ski to hit the fishing pier 50 feet in front of them. Both are believed to have died from blunt force trauma.
“There was no alcohol, no drugs, it was just a family down here on vacation enjoying life and this is truly a tragic accident,” said Dean
He said a few bystanders saw the accident happen and jumped off the pier to help.
“Two of the individuals actually leaped off of the fishing pier, which is about a ten foot drop into the water whenever they saw the accident,” said Dean. “They saw the child and the father floating in the water. Two of those brave citizens grabbed them, brought them to the dock where they started performing first aid.”
The call came in at 2:15 p.m. Friday afternoon.
The Coast Guard, Wildlife Resource Commission and Sunset Beach Fire and Police Departments responded to the scene. According to town administrator Susan Parker, other visitors, residents and first public safety officials on the scene tried to revive the father and son with no success.
The incident is part of a multi-agency investigation.
The ramp has been reopened, but the fishing pier will remain closed throughout Memorial Day weekend due to structural damage.