Two injured in boat collision on the Coosa River

A Silver Creek man is being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga following a boat collision in the Coosa River near Brushy Branch on Tuesday.

A Silver Creek man is being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga following a boat collision in the Coosa River near Brushy Branch on Tuesday.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Cpl. Shawn Elmore identified the man who was most seriously injured as Randy Kelley, 62, of Silver Creek, who was life-flighted to Erlanger. Kelley was a passenger in the boat operated by Larry Wheat, 54, of Silver Creek, who was also injured and taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

The collision occurred between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. about a half mile south of where Brushy Branch flows into the Coosa.

Elmore said he’s still not exactly sure what caused the collision.

“By the time I got there one of the guys had been life-flighted to Erlanger and I actually passed the ambulance with the other guy,” Elmore said.

Elmore identified occupants of the other boat as Melvin Ellison, 47, of Rome, and a 14-year-old juvenile.

The occupants of both boats had been participating in a fishing tournament that was based at Brushy Branch.

The boat operated by Wheat was headed down river to assist another boater who had called for some help after developing mechanical trouble. The boat piloted by Ellison was coming up river for the weigh-in at Brushy Branch, according to Elmore. He said Ellison was ejected from his boat upon collision but not seriously injured.

Elmore said there was still enough daylight at the time of the collision that lights on the boats were not an issue. The collision is still under investigation.