One Dead After Boating Accident On Wister Lake

WISTER LAKE (KFSM) -- One person is dead and another was transported to a hospital after a boating accident on Wister Lake, Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

The accident happened at about 6 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 3).

Trooper Ryan Williams said the two boats collided while traveling in opposite directions while coming around a point. Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the accident is now under investigation.

"You can't see," Jody Adams, friend said. "Both of them didn't see each other and hit head on."

According to Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Matthew Place (39) from Wister, Oklahoma died on scene and Martin Dunigan (43) of Poteau was taken to Sparks Hospital with a leg injury and released.

"It was just a bad accident," Adams said. "There's really no one to lame with something like that."

The area of the lake where the accident happened is known by fishermen as, "The Cut," a shortcut that boaters use to get from the lake to the river.

"We all come through here when we fish our tournaments to get from one place to the next, instead of going all the way around," Adams said.

Adams said the boaters are forced to travel at faster speeds to prevent from scratching their boats in the shallow waters of the shortcut. Now, he said it's not worth it.

"It's not worth it to go fast," Adams said. "Slow down, make sure you have that life jacket on, make sure you have that kill switch on. It may cost you an extra five minutes to get to your fishing hole, but you're going to be a lot better off."

Now the fishermen on Lake Wister who all knew Place will carry their friend's memory every time they're on the water.

"He always said that the next cast could be a ten-pounder, so don't ever stop fishing," Adams said.

Adams said a new rule will be put into place on the lake near the area of the shortcut. That rule will require boaters to idle as they travel through The Cut.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol said investigators will take a look at the data taken from the boats in the coming days.