The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 31, 2013

UPDATE: Boating accident victim identified by coroner

Anthony Szozda of Athens killed Tuesday during fishing tourney

By Kim West

— A 65-year-old man from Limestone County was killed Tuesday evening while riding in a Ranger bass fishing boat near Finley Island on the Tennessee River in Decatur.

Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn identified the victim as Anthony Szozda of Curtis Lane in Athens. Chunn said emergency officials received the initial report of an accident on the river just north of the Nucor Steel dock at 5:34 p.m.

The coroner said Szozda was brought ashore to Ingalls Harbor after a low-hanging Tennessee Valley Authority power line struck the boater while competing in a bass fishing tournament.

He said the victim died of trauma to his head and neck while riding in the lead boat of a three-boat group participating in the tournament.

“The victim sustained severe head and neck injuries as a result of coming into contact with the cable,” Chunn said.

The Bass Anglers Invitational Trail listed Szozda, known as “Ski Daddy” to fellow fisherman, as placing eighth in a 2011 tournament after reeling in 23.33 pounds of fish and $650 in prize money. The Walmart Bass Fishing League also listed Szozda, a widowed father of one son and two daughters, as a fishing tournament participant.

Chunn said the last boating fatality on the river in Decatur happened two years ago involving a Jet-Ski rider.

The accident is under investigation by the Alabama Marine Police.