Boat accident in Austin kills 2, including Houston businessman

AUSTIN (KTRK) -- A boat accident in Austin killed two people Sunday morning including a well-known Houston businessman.

Lake Austin and the area around the Emma Long Boat Ramp were both busy with campers and boaters on this fall day.

Nicole Bean said from her campsite, "Someone told me there was a lot of commotion last night."

They learned of the crash that happened hours earlier, before sunrise, when Austin Police were called to the scene and five people were initially missing in the water. Three were rescued safely but two died. One of the victims is Shawn Hurwitz, a well-known businessman and philanthropist from Houston.

"It just breaks my heart. I can't believe it. We've come out here boating with my family as long as I've lived in Austin. It's pretty scary and sad," says Been.

Hurwitz was President and CEO of Maxxam which owns part of Sam Houston Race Park. He served on many foundations and boards including KIPP Academy. Family spokesperson, J. Kent "Kenny" Friedman issued this statement:

    "Shawn Hurwitz's generous spirit and huge heart touched so many people over the years that this news will be devastating to people across the state and nation.

    "We will share more information about the accident, services and remembrance as is appropriate and it becomes known to us."

    "Please keep the Hurwitz family and the families of the others involved in your hearts and prayers in the days ahead."

Investigators believe the driver of the boat struck an object in the water. Many boaters who frequent the lake say the accident makes them more observant and careful on the water.

"There is a lot of boats here, especially on a holiday weekend. Generally I bring my kids here at the time. They've been on this lake a lot. It's a good place to come because the water level is always the same," says Rick Davies.

Hurwitz is survived by his parents Charles and Barbara, wife, Debbie Risen Hurwitz, and a teenage son and daughter.

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