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Jet Ski vs. Boat Accident on the Santa Fe sends four to the hospital

By Cindy Jo Ayers
On Monday, the Gilchrist County Journal learned of a tragic boating incident on the Santa Fe River. According to an eyewitness report, the driver of a jet ski jumped the wake of a boat and landed in the path of an oncoming boat. The citizen that reported the incident said the  boat that hit the jet ski ended up jammed under a wooden dock at a home in the Holly Springs neighborhood.  The Holly Springs Community is located on the  Gilchrist County side of the Santa Fe. The boating accident happened just before four  in the afternoon on Saturday, May 30.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating the incident. According to their report Jacob O’Neil Samford, age 35 of Lake City was driving a 2002 Yamaha jet ski and he was jumping the wake of an unkown boat traveling down river. As Samford jumped the wake, he entered the path of a 21 foot Sportsman bay boat which was traveling up river.  The driver of the boat tried to take evasive action to avoid colliding with the jet ski, but  there was not enough time or space to maneuver. The boat hit the jet ski  and continued into a dock located on the Gilchrist side of the Santa Fe River. The boat came to an immediate stop after striking the dock and all three occupants of the boat were thrown into the river. A Jennings, Florida family was in the boat, James W. Jones, age 44, Leslie G. Jones, age 43 and Jason W. Jones, Jr. age 14.
The Jones family was transported to North Florida Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The jet ski was found in the river and pulled to a dock on the Gilchrist side of the river by a Good Samaritan. The operator of the jet ski, Jacob O’Neil Samford, was retrieved from the water by Good Samaritans on scene and he was Life Flighted to Shands Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery according to the FWC report.
On Sunday Samford was out of surgery and was in the Intensive Care Unit. This incident is being investigated by the FWC Investigations Section.
One of the local residents, a homeowner in the Holly Springs community, stated that boats fly up and down the Santa Fe River and the river is very narrow in that area. The homeowner went on to say the boat and jet ski drivers are traveling way too fast on the Santa Fe and it is not safe.
Holly Springs is located on the Gilchrist side of the Santa Fe River between the 129 Bridge and where the Ichetucknee run enters the Santa Fe.