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Teens recovering from personal watercraft crash

5:22 PM, Apr 26, 2011   |    comments
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Lakeland, Florida - Lake Gibson was a picture of calm beauty on Tuesday with ducks paddling about, but on Sunday, screams rang out on the water and blood flowed.

Two teens, each on a personal watercraft, collided on the lake on Sunday afternoon. According to investigators, the two cousins were driving parallel to each other when Zoe Gibbs suddenly turned in front of Paige Rimmer.

"One personal watercraft actually went up and over the other one," says Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spokesman Gary Morse.

The accident happened during a family gathering at a lakeside home. The girls were going about 30 miles per hour and the impact severed Gibbs' left leg from the knee down.

A Facebook page, Praying For Zoe Gibbs, is full of thoughts for the 14-year-old, who underwent another surgery at Tampa General on Tuesday. She's listed in fair condition.

At ages 14 and 15, the girls were old enough to operate a personal watercraft, but they had not taken a state-required boating safety course, which specifically talks about how easily it is to get into trouble with the high-powered machines.

"It's important for boaters to know the rules of the road and to understand, particularly with personal watercraft, that they don't have brakes and a lot of things can happen very quickly at 30 or 40 miles per hour," says Morse.

Broken apart, the watercraft bear the scars of this accident and a relative tells 10 News it will also take time for this entire family to heal.

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