2 Dead After Boat Accident, Victims Identified

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV  

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (WCCO) — Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a deadly boating accident in Alexandria.

Two people were killed, and four others hurt when the watercraft crashed on Lake Victoria on Saturday.

The calm water of Lake Victoria is a constant draw during the summer months.

“It’s a very popular area for boating,” said Sgt. Brad Brejcha of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Mathew Spletzer, 30, Nicole Getz, 27, joined four other friends for a day on the water.

As the day came to an end, their 24-foot boat somehow crashed into two boat lifts and hit a tree. Spletzer and Getz were killed.

“The group she was with lived on the lake in a big boat. That was their summer fun,” said Jerome Getz, Nicole’s father. “Went over their own wake and got airborne.”

Matt’s family said he loved the outdoors and loved to be with friends.  Nicole’s family remembered a fun loving person who was ready for anything.

“She was a kind person.  She’d do anything for anyone,” said Getz.

“We just want everyone to use safety so we don’t have to tell parents of a 27-year-old they’ve lost a child,” said Sgt. Brejcha.

With summer just beginning, Nicole’s family hopes their loss is a reminder to others who plan to spend time on the water this summer.

“Just be conscience of what you’re doing. No brakes on water. There’s no forgiveness. Just happens in a split second and you’re done,” said Getz.

Investigators say alcohol was on the boat.  Friends say Nicole was driving and had a drink or two, but they say she was not drunk.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • shleby

    the poor people. I fel sad for the family.

  • trl the alligator

    yo Curt…..DID YOU RREAD THE ARICLE?…..it said in plain english that it was a 24′ inboard…..duh.

    • @trl

      Guess what they added that since his comment, they do update things in case you didnt know, go pick a fight somewhere else, living joke trl alligator.

    • msavick


  • yup

    I’m wondering how large the boat was too?

  • http://vigvee.wordpress.com vigvee

    Sad, clearly a result of inexperienced operators.


    • John

      Sad, yes…..Inexperienced operators, my eye, try alcohol and stupidity……

      • Trish

        She was not drunk!!! she had two at the most, was just inexperienced, and lost control.. and was my sisters best friend!!!

        • Logical

          Trish, he didn’t say “drunk”. He said alcohol. Two drinks in an average size woman is usually legally intoxicated though. Don’t drink and drive doesn’t stop on land.

          It is worth noting that you may have a skewed perception to alcohol. I would hope you would take away the lesson of BOAT RESPONSIBLY from this. Not worry about trying to validate the immature partytime activities of young adults who, quite frankly, should know better. They cared more about their fun. End of story. Painful bite in the ass. aka life.

      • Logical

        I agree with you, John.

  • rj

    If going any kind of speed, the visual from the drivers seat isn’t very good. Too many people, not enough attention to where they were???

  • Clint Make My Day says

    just a thought but maybe before we get all snippity and pizzy on comments maybe you need to realize they change these things and add detail constantly.
    What you read may not refect what was there 5 minutes before.
    just saying …… and maybe zip the lip in general “trl”

  • Wild Ride

    LMFAO — ever get to a like there rj ???? lol

    The pic you commenting on above is one of the standard they use here. No what the boat is or was involved in this sad deal.

    I won’t comment on the alcohol as who knows? Pretty common for boaters to imbibe – like a bar on water. ;-)

    • @wild side

      Walking tree stump this is actual photo, not a generic photo, I suppose all the local newsites have the same generic photo, Please know something before you open your disfigured face

  • w hill

    think of the families and the poor people who lost their lives instead of stupid argueing how how big the boat was my god

    • anon

      amen! he was my ex boyfriend and she was a friend of mine. they will be greatly missed.

  • msavick

    This was a highly preventable tragedy . Suggest all take a safe boating course given by many organizations like the DNR, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, etc. There is a lot more to boating safely than starting the engine and steering. Boat owners are responsible for the lives of their passengers.

    • paulc

      YES!! What we need are more government regulations.

  • Joe

    Most boat operator’s don’t know most of the boating laws. Green Buoy, Red Buoy, White Buoy. Most people must think these are for looks. Fill up the cooler with beer and go like a bat out of hell. That seems to be the standard .

  • mike

    I feel sad for hearing this has happened. But to know that the possibility of alcohol and/or inexperience could be involved I don’t feel as sad. People should realize the all recreational vehicles( snowmobile, ATV, boat, or etc) has the same rules as driving a car and truck.

    • Stephanie Levasseur-Duszynski

      Yes, it’s so much less of a tragedy for this poor family because the driver was new at it. Good call. /sarcasm

    • Kyle

      Motor powered ‘recreation’ of all kinds is simply a dangerous, and environmentally destructive thing. Tragic fatalities and terrible injuries are bound to occur. It is time for people, for a host of reasons, to renounce motorized rec and go by silent muscle power.

      • Don't be ridiculous.

        Go crawl back into your cave.

  • TMarie

    I knew the people involved in this accident. Some better than others, it’s a very sad deal what happened. All of them had been drinking except for one. I feel for all of them and the sad thing is that the sober one should’ve been driving. :(

  • msavick

    You are only in control on what knowledge and skills you acquire and how you behave. Now, I mostly sail or kayak on non-motorized lakes. I have rescued people on the Atlantic, the Mississippi River and city lakes. The common theme is lack of knowledge and skills. I make it easier to attract attention and be rescued. I wear a PFD 100% of my time on the water and each of my PFDs have a whistle and flashlight attached to get attention if needed. I used the whistle on Lake Pepin when a sailboat I was a guest aboard was swamped. Someone heard my whistle and called the Sheriff to assist. I also carry aerial flares on large bodies of water.

  • mike

    I ride/ race ATV’s for over 10 yrs. My sport has taken huge hits because either from inexperience or/and alcohol. I discussed this with either manufacturers and dealers. The only way to control this is issuing a license for this. I hate seeing fathers buying ATV’s for kids that are to big knowwing there is stickers plus paperwork saying that no one under 16 can use it. Then hearing them blaming them for hurting their kids.

  • swerver

    Ah ok that has very little to do with an adult operating a boat under the influence. I may order pizza for dinner, just thought you’d like to know that

  • Jack Anderson

    I live in the area, but no nothing about this accident. If alcohol was a factor, that is tragic. Law enforcement will sort that out. Operator negligence? Tragedy compounded! Hopefully though, investigations will go beyond. I have a similarly sized boat, although not a high speed one. A manufacturing defect (Volvo Penta by the way) caused the power steering system to rupture and fail. An imparied and/or inexperienced operator would be significantly challeged to deal with what I had to. EVERYTHING should be evaluated here.

    • Mandy

      Thank you Jack

  • Looking

    Boats and Booze just don’t work together. Wait let’s go see if someone caught too many fish.

  • Shocked in Alexandria

    I happen to know 2 of the individuals involved in the crash. I now, in addition to praying for them and their families, I’ll now be praying for most of the people on this blog as well. In fact this group is trained and knowledgable about boating and water. And, yes, the boat was large enough. It’s amazing to me that you can’t see the bigger picture. There are hundreds of people grieving their loss and all you can do is judge. So, I pray that nothing happens to you and your loved ones. And, God forbid if it does, I pray you don’t have to sit there in HORROR watching complete strangers judge your loved ones.

    • Syd

      My sister lives by Lake Victoria

      • Chuck

        So what?!

    • sister's friends

      I totally agree with you Shocked in Alexandria, i too just barely knew the two ppl involved they were my sisters best friends. And i too am getting sick of reading these posts by these ppl who have no sympathy at all…

    • logical

      So then they disregarded their wealth of boating knowledge to drink while operating boat (illegal) and have high speeds near shore & docks (illegal) because ??? We CAN see the bigger picture. Perhaps it is you, who are too emotionally close to this story, that is not being logical. They went out on a public lake. Acted the fool. This time their actions had different consequences.

      It IS smart to pass judgement on this because hopefully it will deter others from making the same stupid decisions. Grow up.

      • Stephanie Levasseur-Duszynski

        So judge them on a board where their poor family members are going to be here to read your callous comments? Perhaps it is YOU who needs to grow up. How horrid it must be to live such a bitter life.

        • Good Ol Boy

          Stephanie, family members should probably not read comment sections on stories such as this.

          Also, it is not an appropriate venue for extending your sympathies to the family. If you really wanted to extend true sympathies, you’d do it another way.

          Your comment was the one out of line.

      • Brit

        How do you know this accident happened that way logical? Were you there? The artical does not state any of that happening? It says “friends say” that is not a fact. Way to go genious.

    • Good Ol Boy

      Actually, someone else who “knows them” commented that the one driving was inexperienced and lost control.

      I’ve driven a boat a LOT, and “losing control” is something that shouldn’t ever happen. It happens when you do something dangerous and unnecessary.

      It doesn’t make it any less a tragedy that good people who were loved by their families and friends were lost. I want to make that clear also.

    • Mandy

      Amen Shocked in Alexandria!!! I agree with EVERYTHING you said!!

  • msavick

    Agreed. A trained, experienced, sober operator would not be operating at high speed near docks in violation of courtesy and wake regulations. Part of training and experience is learning to anticipate and pre-plan for emergencies like equipment failures and react accordingly. Boats have stopping distances and reaction time land like cars you need to manage the space around your vessel based on visibility speed, weather, and sea conditions. Reaction time and effectiveness are improved by training. You can train your instinct by asking your self “what if this fails or that happens?”. If you can’t answer the question, find out by taking a course, asking a well qualified person, checking the owners manual, etc.

    Reaction time and effectiveness are severely reduced by alcohol and inexperience. Power boats are equipped with multiple means to shut down but you have to program that into your brain before the emergency.

  • Brit from Alexandria

    I am with “shocked” from Alexandria. I had the privilege of knowing Nicole before this tragedy happened … And I am horrified by everyone on here judging!!! This was an accident!!! She would have never judged any of you!! Please stop these comments before someone in her family sees them. Where is the respect! This is public viewing! How would you feel if some comments like this were wrote about your daughter, sister, best friend, mother, etc … Thanks!

    • @all you saints here

      with ya Brit

      folks – if you have nothing better to do with your petty lives beyond ripping and palying not it all and God may I suggest you wander into the areas damaged by the tornados today and do some work. Grow up. You remind me of my kids 20 years ago when they were 5 and 6

    • dah-der-dolt

      If some1 close to me died I wouldn’t be spending my time reading comments on here.

    • Good Ol Boy

      You’re horrified that people are saying she may have been somewhat responsible for her own death, another death, and 2 serious injuries by consuming alcohol and driving a boat in an irresponsible manner?


      Wasn’t she?

    • logical

      Wow. What a self absorbed point of view. This is a public news article about an event that happened on a public lake with people that were not following public laws. If others want to form an opinion and post it, they have every right to do so.

      If you care about her family, bake some cookies and stop by to offer condolences and a hug. Weirdo.

      • Charlie

        Logical… it is a qustion of what is appropriate here…

        and while you may a right to say what you want, it may better serve you to hold your comments now.

        Thank you.

    • Good Ol Boy

      The word “accident” is like the word “sorry.”

      It means absolutely nothing to the person killed or injured by the person using poor judgement.

  • Syd

    I live in Alexandia and 3 people have died in just as many days!

  • Kim


  • msavick

    I’m waiting for a call/ email from well know emergency response group to help in Minneapolis as I have done in prior tornadoes and floods in the region. Please contact the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Nechama or the City of Minneapolis before entering the tornado damage area and /or follow instructions that are provided in the news media and web sites These groups will coordinate the efforts and let you know when and where you are needed. It may take a day or more before it is safe and effective for volunteers to arrive. Please join me if volunteers are requested. After a day of cleaning up you will be hot , dirty, tired, and very satisfied.

  • msavick

    Some of us would like to prevent other families from experiencing the pain from an avoidable tragedy. Accidents are caused, they don’t just happen. Almost all accidents are caused by human error. Such errors are reduced and or properly responded to by well trained alert operators who know the rules, know the water, know their equipment, and know emergency procedures. Again training is available from well know organizations like the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, and many other accredited organizations. I have many years of experience with public boating safety training, search, and rescue. and I update my training frequently.
    Please learn and be safe.

  • Brit from Alexandria

    In this article it says alcohol was on board. It does NOT say they were drunk. Who knows this happened by the landing. Maybe they had just gotten on the lake and something went wrong. But everyone is assuming they were drunk and being reckless. People don’t have to judge before details are stated!

    • Sanity

      @ Brit


      I knew the people involved in this accident. Some better than others, it’s a very sad deal what happened. All of them had been drinking except for one. I feel for all of them and the sad thing is that the sober one should’ve been driving.”

      ” Trish

      She was not drunk!!! she had two at the most, was just inexperienced, and lost control.. and was my sisters best friend!!!”

      Alcohol on board, friends stating they were drinking; you don’t have to be falling down drunk to be impared and make bad decisions. Inexperience and alcohol can be deadly in any situation involving motorized equipment. I am sorry for the loss of life but that doesn’t change the fact that this accident was probably 100% preventable.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live