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Out-of-control boat throws man overboard, leaving it circling endlessly on Lake Wylie

This 13-foot fishing boat was circling out of control Sunday in Lake Wylie, says the Gaston County Police Department.
This 13-foot fishing boat was circling out of control Sunday in Lake Wylie, says the Gaston County Police Department. Gaston County Police photo

A strange and risky police chase played out on Lake Wylie west of Charlotte this week, when Gaston County officers say they were forced to catch an “out-of-control” boat that was unmanned and going in circles.

Gaston County police say they got a call at 8:46 a.m. Sunday from someone reporting a 13-foot fishing boat was piloting itself in the waters off Armstrong Road in Belmont, Assistant Chief C. J. Rosselle said in a news release. Belmont is about 12 miles east of Charlotte.

“An operator of a small boat had fallen out into the water while his boat continued running in a circular pattern, endangering boaters and docks in the vicinity,” Rosselle said in the release. “When officers arrived on scene they found the boat still circling out of control.”

The boat, which had a full tank of gas, had been circling at least 30 minutes when police arrived, officials said.

In a daring move, Rosselle said an officer made “several attempts” to jump from one boat onto the circling craft before he finally succeeded. The officer then brought the boat under control, he said in the release.

“The boat was subsequently returned unharmed to the owner, Jeffrey Lynch of Gastonia,” officials said. “No other boaters or property were injured during this incident.”

Investigators did not say if Lynch was the one operating the boat when it went out of control. The boater thrown into the water was not injured, officials said.

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