12-year-old girl found after going missing in boating accident

POSTED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 1:04pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 10:23pm

Search and rescue teams have located the body of the 12-year-old Mandeville girl who has been missing since being ejected into the water after a boating crash incident in Shell Beach Bayou in St. Bernard Parish on July 16.

The search and rescue teams found the body of Samantha Vinturella shortly after 11 a.m. in Lake Borgne about 5 to 6 miles from the original boating crash incident site.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division (LDWF) agents responded to a two vessel collision between a 20 foot boat operated by Marion Funchess, 61, of Folsom, and a 15 foot boat operated by Paul Battle, age 48, of Mandevile, on the evening of July 16 in the Shell Beach Bayou. Battle had four juvenile passengers on board including the missing 12 year old girl. Funchess had an adult passenger on board his boat.

All four juveniles were ejected from the 15 foot boat operated by Battle with three of them able to be recovered from the water. Battle was not ejected from the boat, but was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Funchess and his passenger did not receive any major injuries.

LDWF, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Plaquemines parishes Sheriff’s Offices have been searching since July 16 for Vinturella.

According to LDWF Enforcement Division Col. Winton Vidrine, LDWF will be the lead investigating agency for this boating crash incident to determine a cause of the collision and death. Vinturella was not wearing a personal flotation device when the boating crash incident occurred and her body will be turned over to the St. Bernard Coroner’s Office.

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