REDDING, Calif. - UPDATE: 7/4/17 at 5:51 p.m. Press release from the Shasta County Sheriff's Office with minor edits:
On Monday July 3, 2017, at approximately 7:58 p.m., an unidentified female juvenile was operating Robert Noftz’s boat on Lake Shasta in front of Digger Bay. Because the juvenile driver is under 16 years of age, she has to be supervised by someone over 18 years of age. Noftz was the person supervising the underage operator and three other unidentified juveniles in the boat.
The juvenile was pulling the unidentified 12-year-old male victim around on a tube, when the victim told the operator to try and knock him off the tube. The operator attempted to knock the victim off the tube, but turned the boat too sharp and hit a wake from the boat. The boat was now heading towards the victim. The victim, who was wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket, got off the tube in an attempt to get away from the boat. The victim was unable to get out of the way and was struck by the boat. The victim went under the bow of the boat and disappeared. The victim’s life jacket was found floating behind the boat. The life jacket had damage consistent with being struck by a propeller.
Robert Noftz, 50, from Red Bluff, was in command of the boat due to the age of the operator, even though he was not driving at the time of the accident. Noftz was arrested for boating under the influence charges and booked into the Shasta County Jail.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety Unit, Dive Team and the California Highway Patrol helicopter searched the area in and around Digger Bay for the victim Tuesday and were unable to locate him.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety unit and Dive Team will continue to search for the victim on July 5.
The Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety Unit is continuing to investigate the accident and has contacted all known witnesses. If anyone else witnessed the accident, they are encouraged to contact the Shasta County Sheriff’s Boating Safety Unit at 245-6075.
According to the Shasta County Sheriff's Office, a minor was driving the boat that struck the boy who is now missing in Shasta Lake.
Deputies said the arrest of Robert Noftz, 50, from Red Bluff, came after officials discovered he was the adult in charge of the boat that the minor was driving.
Officials also said they are still searching for the 12-year-old victim and that he was actually hit while inner tubing, not water skiing as they originally stated. Officials said the 12-year-old child was wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.
Officials added Noftz, the minor driving, and the missing 12-year-old all knew each other and were at the lake together.
Officials said the Shasta County Sheriff's Office Boating Unit received a call at 7:58 p.m. Monday night for a boating accident on Shasta Lake in front of Digger Bay.
Boating safety personnel arrived and searched the area but were unable to locate the missing boy. Officials then arrested Noftz for boating under the influence and was booked into the Shasta County Jail.