Deadly boat wreck on Dauphin Island has people demanding action

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Authorities say a boat carrying five people slammed into the concrete barrier of the Dauphin Island Airport runway. One of those boaters died... the other four were rushed to the hospital.

22-year-old Quinton Zirlott died Friday night after he was ejected from a boat that crashed into the concrete barrier of the runway.

Cameron Guilbeaux, a close friend of Zirlott, says it would not have happened if the runway had sufficient lighting.

“The Dauphin Island Airport has been the scene of many boat wrecks in the past and there will be more in the future unless we fix this problem now,” said Guilbeaux. “Boaters should not have to be searching in the dark to avoid it- it should always be lit up and visible.”

Guilbeaux has organized a petition in hopes that tragic incidents like this one won’t occur again. Thousands of people have signed the petition.

Lisa Vail, a native, agrees that action needs to be taken.

“I absolutely think something needs to be done, you know, it’s a precaution and these accidents that have happened there before-and people can say what they want to say-but if there had been lights out there, this could have stopped that from happening,” said Vail.

Vail understands the dangers of being on the waters without lights.

“It’s dark and you know, and you can’t see. I was on the boat with my cousin and he wrecked with us… so I mean, I had just prayed before I got in a wreck and God saved us,” added Vail.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier says he, along with Mobile County officials, are exploring options to see if something can be done to make the area around the airport and runway safer.

“This is the first fatality that I can recall, but obviously one is too many and I think we owe it to ourselves and the safety of the voting public to do a thorough look at the situation and just determine if we can do something better,” stated Collier.

If you’re interested in signing the petition, you can visit the link below.


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