NATIONAL CITY, Calif. -- A 7-year-old boy was fatally struck by a fishing boat that was docking Sunday at Pepper Park in National City, officials said.
An estimated 20-foot fishing boat with three men and one of the men's 7-year-old son was returning from a day on the bay to Pepper Park at 3299 Tidelands Avenue just before 2 p.m., according to Port of San Diego spokeswoman Marguerite Elicone.
The vessel's operator was attempting to maneuver it into the dock and the boy's father jumped into the water to assist docking. At some point the boy either jumped or fell into the water, Elicone said.
The boat made some jerking motions while it docked which could have caused the boy to fall into the water, she said.
"We don't know if he was trying to jump off to help his dad dock the boat or if he fell,'' Elicone said.
The boat's operator was unaware the child was in the water and inadvertently struck him with the vessel, Elicone said.
Someone at the park called for help and paramedics took the boy to Rady Children's Hospital, where he died, Elicone said.
Elicone said there was no sign of foul play or alcohol involvement and that the boat's operator would likely not face charges.
"It was just an unfortunate accident,'' Elicone said.
San Diego Harbor Police took the vessel to be examined and would determine exactly where the boy was struck and if a malfunction happened on the boat, Elicone said.