SAN FRANCISCO—The son of former 49ers CEO Peter Harris died in a boating accident off Santa Catalina Island.

Michael Harris, 26, and four others were aboard a dinghy on Sunday, September 6, when the vessel collided with another boat.

The collision occurred about a quarter of a mile northeast of Casino Point, near Descanso Bay.

The family of Michael Harris can reportedly not see their son until after the investigation into his death is over.
The family of Michael Harris (pictured top right) can reportedly not see their son until after the investigation into his death is over. Source: Facebook, Peter Harris.

Witnesses reported hearing cries for help just after 1 a.m. Emergency responders arrived soon afterward.

Harris’ girlfriend, Kelly Wells, was one of the three people who were injured. All were airlifted to the Ronald Reagan Medical Center in UCLA. Two of the victims are said to have sustained minor injuries while another suffered a non-life threatening head injury.

A fifth person is still missing, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The search for that person was suspended on Sunday evening and resumed on Monday.

Harris’ official cause of death has not yet been released.

Authorities are currently investigating the nature and cause of the collision. They do not believe that either alcohol or drugs played a factor.

The 49ers organization took to Twitter to pay tribute to Harris. “The entire 49ers organization offers heartfelt condolences to Peter and the Harris family on the tragic loss of their son Michael.”

“We knew Michael as a caring young man who was a joy to be around and we join the Harris family in mourning his passing,” the statement added.

Peter Harris, a native of Stockton, served as President and CEO of the 49ers from 2000 to 2004.

In a tribute posted on Facebook, he regarded son Michael as a “truly spectacular young man.” While confirming Michael’s death, he stated that he “died this morning while living his life as he did everyday, with kindness, friendship, love of family, caring for others, having fun, being a friend, and as one of the really good guys.”

Harris was a former student of University of San Diego and Santa Clara University. He had been working as a student counselor at a San Francisco area high school. According to Peter Harris, Michael leaves behind his mother Jan, and two brothers, David and Richard.