Boater charged in June drownings on Susquehanna River


A boater is charged with homicide by watercraft after the PA Fish and Boat Commission says he overloaded his fishing boat and did not have life jackets on board when his boat capsized and two other men drowned in June. It happened on the Susquehanna River on June 1st. Brandon Allen went fishing with two friends, Cody Moyer and Jonny Velez. Allen’s boat was rated to safely carry a total of two people or 280 pounds and a maximum 3 horsepower motor. The three people in Allen’s boat totaled 540 pounds. In addition, the boat was running a 9.9 horsepower motor. There was also fishing gear on board, putting the weight in the boat at 620 pounds, more than twice what it was rated to carry.

The boat started taking on water about three miles from where they launched that fateful day, from waves generated by the warm water discharge of the Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant. The waves were ranging from six inches to two feet. According to court documents, Allen attempted to bail the water with a Powerade bottle. It wasn’t working. A wave came over the front of the boat and it started to sink, some 35 yards from shore. Allen made it out. Velez and Moyer did not.

Allen is charged with Homicide by Watercraft, Reckless and Negligent Operation of a Watercraft, lack of Personal flotation devices, overloading and improper loading and no registration.