Men involved in boating incident identified

Thursday, June 5th 2008, 12:30 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

The three men involved in a boating incident Thursday on Lake Hefner that left one man dead and one man in critical condition have been identified.

According to police, Ricky Christopher, 45, and James Motis, 73, were in a boat on Lake Hefner Thursday afternoon pulling Stephen Flores, 33, on a wakeboard with winds gusting at more than 40 mph and waves as high as six feet tall. The boat was overcome by the large waves and overturned, police said. 

Both Christopher and Motis were pulled from the water, but Christopher died at the scene. Motis is still listed at a local hospital under critical condition, authorities said.  

Flores survived the ordeal and rode his wakeboard to the lake's dam, where he pulled himself out of the water and started waving his hands for help, authorities said.

Hugh Fox was leaving for lunch when he saw Flores signalling for help. When Fox approached Flores, the wakeboarder asked Fox to call 911 and said Christopher and Motis did not know how to swim, Fox said.

"I called 911 and by the time I got up on the dam, his boat was beached on the rocks," Fox said. "It had been smashed pretty good and he said he had two people in the water and they were being swept out."

The lake's conditions were so rough Thursday that a police boat sent to help in the rescue was pushed against the rocky shore, unable to move.

Both men were wearing life jackets, but Kelley said both men were found face-first in the water.

"It'll help keep your head out of the water, but it won't necessarily keep your head up," Battalion Chief Mike Kelley with the Oklahoma City Fire Department said. "In this case, this individual was face down in the water."