SUNSET BEACH, N.C. (WNCN) — Friends and family are mourning a man and his son who died in a jet ski crash while on vacation at a North Carolina island on Friday.
John Wernowsky, 51, and his 10-year old son, Jake, were on a jet ski when it hit the fishing pier at the Wildlife Resource Commission Boat Ramp at Sunset Beach, according to the Brunswick County Coroner.
“They were just awesome people. They would do anything for anybody, just give you the shirt off their back. Just great people,” friend Katie DiMartino told WSB-TV.
The crash happened as Wernowsky’s wife and his daughter were nearby and they witnessed the deadly incident, which happened under the new bridge at Sunset Beach.
Wernowsky and Jake were both from Acworth, Georgia, which is northwest of Atlanta.
The crash happened around 2:15 p.m. Friday after Wernowsky’s wife and daughter had arrived at the dock on their jet ski, WECT reported.
As Wernowsky and his son were nearby 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, WECT-TV reported.
Both are believed to have died from blunt force trauma.
“Please join me in praying for his wife Debbie, daughter McKenna, and son Cole as they grieve and heal from this incredible loss,” wrote friend Howard J Koepka on Facebook.
On Friday night, their church LifeBridge Church in Kennesaw, Ga, held a vigil for the pair.
WSV-TV in Atlanta reported that many of the churchgoers were “visibly shaken” as they entered the vigil around 8 p.m. Friday.
Jim Riekel told the TV station he knew Wernowskys for nearly 10 years and lives across the street in Acworth.
“Jake is 10 years old, played lacrosse. We have watched him from a baby and growing up. He is special to everybody,” said Riekel, who lives accross the stree from the family.
“That was John’s little guy. I mean, he loved him to death,” Riekel told WSB.
The Atlanta TV station also reported that wife Debbie and daughter McKenna were injured during the incident.
The church plans more vigils in the coming days for the family.
WECT reported that the nearby ramp has been reopened, but the fishing pier will remain closed through the Memorial Day weekend because of structural damage.