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Accidental deaths mar N.H. holiday weekend

Fall from a boat, car crash kill two

CONCORD, N.H. -- Cheered by good weather, thousands jammed New Hampshire's lakes, mountains, and Independence Day celebrations this weekend, but the holiday was marred by deaths, on the roads and on the water.

An 8-year-old girl was killed on Lake Wickwas in Meredith after she fell out of a boat that was making a turn Saturday evening and hit the propeller. The Marine Patrol said Samantha Smith of Auburn was in a front seat of an 18-foot powerboat that was towing a skier.

A few minutes earlier, a power boat rolled over on Lake Winnipesaukee, throwing two people into the water. They were not hurt and people in another boat pulled them to safety.

In Franklin, Derek Morgan, 16, of Franklin was killed Saturday evening when his car flipped over on Route 3A. Police say speed may have been a factor.

At dusk Friday, Saturday, and yesterday, thousands cheered fireworks displays all over the state.

In Concord, yesterday's celebration was dedicated to two children last seen alive at last year's event. The display and band concert were a tribute to Philip and Sarah Gehring, who disappeared after the fireworks on July 4, 2003.

Their father said later that after taking them home from the fireworks, he drove to southern New Hampshire, killed them, then drove to the Midwest and buried them off Interstate 80. Their bodies have not been found, and the father, Manuel Gehring, killed himself in jail.

This year's holiday celebration was interrupted in Rochester on Saturday, when two fireworks technicians were injured as a rack of explosives blew up on the ground. It happened just after the display began around 9:30 p.m.

Witnesses said there were two explosions -- one jolting a worker backward and the second blasting another worker off his feet. Fire officials said the injuries did not appear serious.

The accident prompted a delay of more than two hours as officials checked the rest of the display to make sure it was safe. Most of the 15,000 to 20,000 people at the show had gone home by the time the show finally began around midnight.

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