State News

Bass fisher dies after boat crash on Lake Murray during college tournament practice


A boat crash on Lake Murray during practice for a college bass fishing tournament resulted in the death of an angler from Western Kentucky University.

Two boats, each carrying two fishermen, collided during a practice round for the Bassmaster College Series, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Three fishermen were injured and hospitalized, two of whom were released the following day.

One of the three, Jonathan Brian, succumbed to his injuries days after the crash. The 21-year-old was a native of Shelbyville, KY.

“We are all heartbroken to learn the news of Jonathan’s tragic death,” said Chase Anderson, CEO of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.

The collision occurred on Jan. 25 around 1 p.m. in an area of Lake Murray in Newberry County, just off the banks of Dreher Island, officials with SCDNR said.

The two boats both held members of out-of-state fishing teams practicing for the tournament, which has trails in Tennessee, Georgia, Texas and Michigan aside from the Lake Murray trail.

South Carolina saw 170 recreational boating accidents in the Lake Murray area in 2022, and 22 fatalities, according to data from DNR. While much of the lake falls under Lexington County jurisdiction, four accidents occurred in Newberry County that year, resulting in injuries for seven people and two deaths.

“Our hearts go out to Johnathan’s family, friends, and college fishing community,” Anderson said in a news release. “We continue to offer our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to Johnathan’s family and loved ones while respecting their privacy during this painful time.”