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Congressman, Staff Injured in Boat Crash

HELENA, Mont. - U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and state Senate majority whip Greg Barkus are in stable condition at Kalispell Regional Medical after sustaining injuries in a late-night boating crash on Flathead Lake Thursday.

According to Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional director Jim Satterfield, Rehberg, R-Mont., Barkus and three other adults were injured when the 22-foot inboard motorboat they were riding in crashed on the rocks along shore near Wayfarers State Park on the north east end of Flathead Lake.

Rehberg's office confirmed that two of Rehberg's staff members were among those who were injured in the crash, which Satterfield called "serious."

The crash happened sometime after 10 p.m. Campers who were near the scene heard the crash and called 911, Satterfield said.

Responders from the Big Fork Fire Department were first on the scene, Satterfield said. Three people were flown to the hospital by helicopter, however fire officials didn't know if Rehberg was among those who were transported by air. The others were taken to the hospital via ambulance. All five are in stable condition.

Satterfield said FWP boating accident experts are investigating the incident along with the Flathead County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Highway Patrol.

"We'll be looking at how fast the boat was going, who was driving, whether alcohol or drugs were involved, whether they have the proper number of life jackets on the boat. Those are the things we look at when we have a routine boating accident like this," Satterfield said.

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