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Colorado girl, 12, killed on Newfound Lake after wind-blown hat distracts father

Union Leader Correspondent

July 17. 2017 5:13PM
State Marine Patrol Sgt. Joshua Dirth talks on his cell phone as he looks at a bowrider-style Colbalt boat at the scene where a 12-year-old Colorado girl died in a boating accident Monday. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

HEBRON — A Colorado man driving a powerboat was momentarily distracted by the wind blowing off his hat when he accidentally struck and killed his 12-year-old daughter Monday morning, according to police.

Sherwood Anderson had circled to give his daughter, Zoe Anderson, another attempt at water skiing when the accident happened at 8:26 a.m. off Cilley's Point, near Sanborn Bay on Newfound Lake.

When a breeze took off his hat, Anderson put the boat into neutral — just as it traveled over his daughter, causing serious injuries to her torso, Marine Patrol said in a news release.

The victim's father, mother, Tonya, and her 14-year-old sister were able to get her out of the water and back onto the boat and call 911. They rushed to a dock at 1775 Mayhew Turnpike, a lakeside condominium development, with the tow rope still dragging behind the 20-foot 1997 Colbalt.

Despite efforts to resuscitate the girl, she died at the scene.

"It makes you want to go home and hug your kids," said Marine Patrol Sgt. Joshua Dirth.

The family lives in Highland Ranch, Colo., and had come to New Hampshire to visit relatives in Bridgewater.

As is protocol in any fatal accident, the state Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy.

Neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in the incident and after conferring with Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo, no criminal charges are expected, authorities report.

New Hampshire State Police responded to the accident, along with Marine Patrol Sgt. Dirth. Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Dispatch sent Bridgewater and Bristol Fire/EMS to the Mayhew Turnpike address near the Hebron town line at 8:31 a.m. reporting that a child had been run over by a boat and was being taken to shore.

A pickup left parked at the Bridgewater Fire Station with the driver's door open showed the speed at which volunteers rushed to help.

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Air Rescue Transport helicopter was immediately dispatched.

Anyone who may have information related to the accident or who may have witnessed it is asked to contact Sgt. Dirth at 603-293-2037 or by email at

Newfound Lake is the third-largest lake in the state, about 2.5 miles wide and six miles long. It has 22 miles of shoreline and its deepest point is 183 feet.

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