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Jet Ski Rider Injured in Neuse River Accident

A Jet Ski rider says warning signs along part of the Neuse River could have prevented the accident that broke his back.

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — A man injured in a Jet Ski accident on the Neuse River in Wayne County said there are no warnings about a dangerous waterfall along that part of the river.

Kyle Corbett said he and five friends were cruising a canal off the Neuse earlier this week when they took a new path. Suddenly, they hit a drop and water pouring over large, jagged boulders.

"It slammed me up against the rocks," Corbett said. "It broke my back in three places."

Five of the six riders crashed, although they were experienced Jet Ski riders who frequent the Neuse, Corbett said. He was the most seriously injured and was expected to need about six weeks to recover.

"There were no buoys, no markers, no anything," Corbett said. "There was just a waterfall with boulders and rocks."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for building and maintaining a small dam that creates the waterfall.

Corbett said that dam creates an optical illusion that the stretch of calm water continues.

"Somebody needs to do something about it there," he said. "It's a very, very dangerous situation."

A spokesperson said more than a year ago, the Corps proposed a repair project that includes adding warning signs upstream from where the Jet Ski riders crashed. The Corps is waiting on federal funding for the project.

"Whoever maintains or is supposed to needs to get on the ball," Corbett said. "We could have been killed."

A crew of Corps engineers will examine the scene of the accident, a spokesperson said, but could not tell when warning signs might be added.



Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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