3 dead in NC boat crash; 2 men operated boats while impaired, officials say

North Carolina news

PIREWAY, N.C. (WECT) – The body of a young man was recovered Saturday morning in Columbus County around 11 a.m., not far from the scene of an accident on the Waccamaw River that claimed his life a week earlier.

Sgt. Kyle vanAlthuis with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission confirmed the body of Garrett Smith, 21, was found earlier Saturday.

Travis Suggs of Tabor City (left) and Matthew Ferster of Shallotte. WECT photos

Smith and two others, Jennifer Hayes, 37 of Chadbourn, and Megan Lynn, 21 of Whiteville, were killed in a crash involving two boats last Sunday around 5:30 p.m. near Pireway.

Crews had been searching for Smith every day since the accident.

According to Sgt. vanAlthuis, the three were passengers on a boat driven by Travis Suggs from Tabor City.

Suggs and the driver of the other boat involved in the collision, Matthew Ferster, of Shallotte, were both charged with operating a boat while impaired.

Ferster and the passenger in his boat were not injured.

The crash remains under investigation.

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