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Rachel Swetnam death: Former beauty queen with 'infectious smile' and college pal are killed in horror boat crash when speeding vessel they're in crashes into houseboat

// Headline
  • Rachel Nicole Swetnam, 21, who was Miss Teen Oklahoma in 2010, died when the 22-foot ski boat they were in collided with a docked houseboat on Grand Lake around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday
  • Her pal from the University of Arkansas William 'Trey' Lewis Varner III, 21, also died in the horror crash
  • Investigators believe the 22-foot ski boat was driving fast causing a 'substantial, violent impact' and the driver may have been drinking
  • Tributes are pouring in for the much-loved pair

By Helen Pow

PUBLISHED: 18:03 EST, 15 May 2013 | UPDATED: 20:19 EST, 15 May 2013

Tragic: Former beauty queen Rache; Swetnam, pictured, and her pal Trey Varner were killed in a devastating boat crash on an Oklahoma lake on Tuesday

Tragic: Former beauty queen Rachel Swetnam, pictured, and her pal Trey Varner were killed in a devastating boat crash on an Oklahoma lake on Tuesday

A former beauty queen and a male friend who studied with her at the University of Arkansas have been killed in a devastating boat crash on an Oklahoma lake.

Rachel Nicole Swetnam, 21, who was Miss Teen Oklahoma in 2010, and William 'Trey' Lewis Varner III, also 21, died when the 22-foot ski boat they were in collided with a docked houseboat on Grand Lake around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

GRDA Assistant General Manager Brian Edwards told KOTV that the ski boat was driving fast in the Arrowhead Yacht Club, causing a 'substantial, violent impact.' According to KMRG, investigators also believe the boat's driver may have been drinking.

The students were among eight passengers on the boat and were seated at the front of the vessel when it crashed, authorities said.

Four other passengers were taken to Craig General Hospital in Vinita with injuries while additional passengers refused treatment at the scene, Grand River Dam Authority spokesman Justin Alberty said.

No one was on the houseboat at the time of the crash, according to the GRDA.

Swetnam, a senior at the college and a graduate of Cascia Hall in Tulsa, had already survived a serious car crash in 2008, which saw her grey Honda completely written off.

Today, as news of the pair's death surfaced, tributes flowed in from friends and family.

University of Arkansas Dean of students Danny Pugh said the college's staff and students were 'shocked and saddened' by news.

Shocking crash: The 22-foot ski boat collided with a docked houseboat, pictured, on Grand Lake around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Shocking crash: The 22-foot ski boat collided with a docked houseboat, pictured, on Grand Lake around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Crash: Swetnam, left, and Varner, right, were among eight passengers on the boat and were seated at the front of the vessel when it crashed

Crash: Swetnam, left, and Varner, right, were among eight passengers on the boat and were seated at the front of the vessel when it crashed

Shocked: University of Arkansas Dean of students Danny Pugh said the college's staff and students were 'shocked and saddened' by news

'We are keeping the families and friends of these students in our hearts during this difficult time, and express our deepest condolences,' he said in a statement. 'These students will be greatly missed by the U of A community.'

Cascia Hall headmaster Roger Carter said Swetnam transferred to his school from a Tennessee school as a junior in 2009 and graduated the following year before heading to Arkansas.

'It just breaks our heart,' he told Tulsaworld.com. 'Terrific student, great family. ... You would just melt when she would speak to you because she had that Tennessee drawl.'

Swetnam was the youngest daughter of surgeon, Dr Jeff Swetnam, who worked at Integris Grove Hospital in Grove, Oklahoma.

Tributes: Today, as news of the Swetnam's death surfaced, tributes flowed in from friends and family of the girl, pictured center

Tributes: Today, as news of the Swetnam's death surfaced, tributes flowed in from friends and family of the girl, pictured center

Friends: The two, pictured together left and right, were good friends from the University of Arkansas

Second crash: Rachel Swetnam had already survived a shocking car crash in 2008, which left her Honda totaled, pictured

Second crash: Rachel Swetnam had already survived a shocking car crash in 2008, which left her Honda totaled, pictured

The family didn't want to comment on the tragedy but Kristi Wallace, marketing representative at the hospital, said the loss had hit hard.

'We're like a family here at Integris and we take this loss very personally,' she told the website. 'No parent should ever lose a child. There can be no greater pain. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Swetnam, his wife, Janet, and their daughter Sarah.'

While in Tulsa, Swetnam competed in beauty pageants and the stunny brunette was crowned Miss Midtown Tulsa Teen USA in 2010 and Miss Oklahoma Teen USA in the same year.

She had a part time job at a Fayetteville boutique called Riffraff while at University. The store wrote on its website today that the 'Riffraff family is greatly saddened by the loss of their friend and co-worker.

'Her beautiful smile, infectious cheer, and great sense of humor filled our halls daily,' they wrote.

'It will be the little things that we'll remember. The quiet moments, the smiles, the laughter, it will be the memories of these little things that help to push away the pain and bring back the smiles again.'

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