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Lincoln Man Hospitalized Following Pawnee Lake Boating Accident

LINCOLN – A Lincoln man was hospitalized after the personal watercraft he was operating collided with a motorboat on Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County on the evening of June 24.

Nicholas Esparza, 18, was taken by Malcolm Fire and Rescue to Bryan LGH Medical Center West in Lincoln. He was treated for a concussion, three broken ribs, pierced lung, and cuts on his face. He is expected to fully recover.

At approximately 7:15 p.m., Esparza’s personal watercraft was westbound near the Area 2 beach on the west side of the lake when it apparently collided with the left read side of a southbound boat operated by Fred Schlegel, 65, of Lincoln. Esparza, who was wearing a life jacket, was found unconscious and floating face-down in the water. Occupants of Schlegel’s boat removed Esparza from the water and took him to the Area 2 boat ramp.

None of the four occupants of Schlegel’s boat was injured. Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the accident. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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