Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

MIAMI, FL— November 30, 2011 – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators are looking into what might have caused a powerboat to plow into a seawall during the early hours of Nov. 28, killing one boater and leaving another hospitalized with unspecified injuries. According to the Sun Sentinel, the fatal boating accident occurred at approximately 1:20 a.m. along the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood, Fla.

Reports suggested Aldo Antonio Rodriguez, 41, and female passenger Odalys Diaz, 45, were aboard a 25- to 26-foot center console vessel, navigating the Intracoastal Waterway in the dark, when the boat slammed into a western seawall. Diaz was thrown from the boat on impact. Rodriguez, on the other hand, became trapped in the vessel’s damaged bow as a result of the watercraft accident.

The crashed boat then mysteriously went on to circle the accident site, even after striking a second wall on the eastern side of the Intracoastal. According to Hollywood Fire Rescue Division Chief Mark Steele, who responded to the scene along with other paramedics from the department, “When they first saw it, they were like, ‘How is this happening?’”

Although emergency medical crews rushed both Rodriguez and Diaz to Memorial Regional Hospital following the violent boat wreck, Rodriguez’s injuries proved fatal at the hospital. The extent of Diaz’s crash injuries remained undisclosed.

While FWC detectives have yet to determine the cause of the Hollywood boat crash, speed was suspected to have contributed to the fatal accident. “That’s definitely something they’re going to take a look at… It is likely a factor considering the force involved in the accident… It will be under investigation for probably quite a while,” explained Carli Segelson, a spokesperson for the commission.

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MIAMI, FL— November 10, 2011 – A horrific South Florida boat crash claimed the lives of two offshore powerboat racers who were participating in the Key West Super Boat World Championships that took placed on Nov. 9th According to information provided by the Miami Herald, spectators were watching the powerboat race from Mallory Square, a waterfront plaza in Key West’s historic district, when a 46-foot powerboat went airborne, flipped, and wrecked upside down during the third lap.

Reports suggested Jeffrey Tillman and Bob Morgan, both Missouri residents, were racing Big Thunder, a Skater powerboat equipped with four 1,200-horsepower engines, in Key West Harbor when something went horribly wrong. During the third lap of the Key West Super Boat World Championships, the powerboat allegedly did a barrel roll and landed upside down, crushing the high-speed boat’s cockpit on impact.

Upon arriving at the site of the violent boating accident via helicopter, emergency personnel leapt into the water to rescue the severely injured powerboat racers. The accident victims were subsequently pulled aboard a rescue vessel and taken back to shore, where an ambulance was awaiting their arrival.

Unfortunately, both Morgan—who owns Big Thunder Motorsports Park and Marina Complex on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri—and Tillman—a Lake of the Ozarks developer— ultimately succumbed to their traumatic injuries and were pronounced deceased at Lower Keys Medical Center.

Beyond the fact that powerboat was clearly traveling at a high rate of speed when it flipped over and crashed, reports did not specify whether any other factors are suspected to have played a role in the fatal boating accident. Investigations are expected to continue.

Statistical data provided by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) indicated 668 boat accidents occurred during the year 2010. Those boat crashes and accidents resulted in 79 boating deaths and 389 injuries. Statistics suggest Florida has more boating accidents than any other state in the nation.

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MIAMI, FL— October 12, 2011 – A horrific boating accident in the Florida Keys resulted in the death of an elderly Hialeah woman and left seven additional victims, including a 4-year-old child, treading water for nearly an entire day. According to information provided by NBC Miami, a 22-foot vessel sank off Long Key, in close proximity to the Tennessee Reef Lighthouse, at approximately 12 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation are conducting a full probe into the Florida Keys accident that resulted in the drowning death of 79-year-old Zaida San Jurjo Gonzalez. The boat operator and six other passengers, all of whom are related to one another, were only rescued approximately 20 hours after the boat capsized. Reports suggested that the boat sank upon being hit by a big wave off the coast of South Florida.

Both U.S. Coast Guard personnel and boat captain David Jensen helped rescue the survivors, one of whom was identified as 4-year-old Fabiana De Armas Lima, following the boat’s capsize. Authorities identified the remaining surviving victims as Hialeah residents Elena G. Gonzalez, 52, and Juglar Riveras, 34, and Royal Palm Beach residents Jorge Alejo Gonzalez, 62, Tomasa Torres Gonzalez, 57, Jose Miguel De Armas, 40, and Yunisleidy Lima Tejada, 25. The FWC aided in rescue missions.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2010 boating accidents statistical report, drowning was the cause of death for 62 percent of the 79 individuals who lost their lives in recreational boating accidents in Florida (a total of 49 victims) that year. Thirty-four percent of victims (27 people) died from trauma-related injuries, and the cause of death for the remaining four percent of victims (three people) remained unidentified.

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MIAMI, FL— October 11, 2011 – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is conducting an investigation into a recent and horrific boating accident in which a man lost his life after falling overboard a vessel and into its propellers. The fatal incident occurred during Biscayne Bay’s 55th annual Columbus Day Regatta, NBC Miami reported.

According to Jorge Pino of the FWC, 45-year-old Juan Carlos Morales appeared to have been either sitting or standing on a 65-foot boat’s rear dive platform when he fell overboard and into the vessel’s propellers. The deadly boating accident occurred near Elliot Key along the coast of South Florida on Oct. 8.

While investigators are still unsure how the boat accident victim fell to his death, a full probe was expected to be underway. Morales was the first person to die in a boating-related incident this Columbus Day weekend, Pino said.

Although Pino stated that it also remained unclear whether alcohol played a role in the fatal boating accident, statistical data provided by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) suggested that alcohol use was the primary contributing factor of boating fatalities during the year 2010. In the past, countless boaters have been arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) during the Columbus Day Regatta at Biscayne Bay.

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MIAMI, FL— September 14, 2011 – Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Marine investigators are conducting a probe into an unfortunate boating accident that claimed the life of a fisherman on the morning of Sept. 12. According to information provided by Patch, a 13-foot stick-steered boat went out of control in the Intracostal Waterway for unknown reasons, ejecting two fishermen, both of whom were not wearing lifejackets, into the water.

Reports indicated 68-year-old “Fireman John” Joseph Litz and 70-year-old Anthony S. Naismith were aboard the vessel Carolina Skiff when it began spinning out of control around 10:43 a.m. Although the fishermen were apparently able to report the emergency situation, they were thrown into the water for unknown reasons.

Another boater in the area appeared to have witnessed the boat accident reportedly helped retrieve the men from the water. Shortly after, a boat operated by Clearwater Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the site to tend to the victims.

While Naismith did not appear to suffer any injuries in the watercraft accident, responding emergency crews performed CPR on an unresponsive Litz before transporting him to the Seminole Boat Ramp so he could be rushed to Morton Plant Hospital for further medical attention. Sadly, Litz, who worked for the Pinellas Park Fire Department for nearly four decades, died at the medical center.

According statistics provided by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), 668 boat accidents were reported during the year 2010. A total of 79 boating deaths and 389 injuries resulted from those boat crashes and accidents. Furthermore, Florida has the highest number of boating accidents in the nation.

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MIAMI, FL—September 7, 2011 – On Sept. 5, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) personnel, accompanied by authorities from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, launched a search and rescue mission for a sailboat captain who fell overboard his vessel near Flagler Beach. Although search operations for the missing boater were conducted to no avail, Associated Press reports indicated that the 45-year-old boat captain ultimately survived the incident by swimming approximately two miles to shore.

While it was not clear if the missing sailor, Brian Jeffrey Oliver was checked into a hospital upon finally reaching the shore and walking into a beach resort, Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 6 said he was in “good condition.” The sailboat captain apparently fell overboard when his vessel was hit by a rogue wave around 5 p.m. The vessel is called the Cedar Roost.

According to First Coast News reports, there were two inexperienced sailors aboard the vessel when the Florida boating accident occurred. Coast Guard officials ultimately rescued those boat passengers, whom authorities identified as Finland men 53-year-old Helene Boning and 48-year-old Andries Bannink.

U.S. Coast Guard statistical data concerning recreational boating accidents indicated there were 431 falls overboard reported in 2008. Those incidents resulted in 188 boating deaths and also left an additional 257 accident victims suffering from various injuries. Statistics also suggest that main cause of death related to boat accidents and wrecks is drowning. In 2008, recreational boat accidents resulted in 510 drowning deaths.

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MIAMI, FL— September 2, 2011 – A Clay County man who was charged with reckless boating in connection with the February 2010 crash that claimed the life of his 17-year-old son and another 15-year-old girl has been sentenced to 18 days in jail. According to information provided by News4Jax, as well as previous reports reiterated by the Miami boat accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, 49-year-old Middleburg man Ted Hanner, who pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge, will face 11 months of probation upon serving his prison sentence.

Reports indicated Hanner was out on his boat with his son, Travis and his son’s friend Halee Mickey, 15, when the vessel began experiencing mechanical problems. In conducting a full investigation into the fatal boat accident, authorities from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) determined that the boat’s controls were in the on-position when Tanner walked about six feet away from them so he could pump a fuel bulb.

When the engine began working again, the boat took an abrupt turn and crashed into an overhanging tree branch, causing both his son and Halee to suffer chest, neck, and head injuries. Both of the teenage crash victims ultimately succumbed to their accident injuries.

According statistics provided by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), 668 boat accidents were reported during the year 2010. A total of 79 boating deaths and 389 injuries resulted from those boat crashes and accidents. Furthermore, Florida has the highest number of boating accidents in the nation.

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MIAMI, FL—August 31, 2011 – A Florida boater was hospitalized with critical injuries sustained in a recent boating accident that occurred in the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. According to information provided by News4Jax, investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) believed the 66-year-old accident victim was the only person aboard the vessel when it capsized on the afternoon of August 29.

With the apparent intention of enjoying a summer afternoon fishing, boater Rodney Abernathy anchored his small boat next to the Fuller Warren Bridge in the St. Johns River. Unfortunately, the boat’s propeller was fouled during a forceful outgoing tide (ebb tide) at some point that afternoon.

The prop foul seemingly forced the watercraft’s stern to face the waves and take on water before ultimately capsizing and sinking. At approximately 5 p.m., Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office marine officers found Abernathy in close proximity to the nearby Acosta Bridge.

The Jacksonville man, who was unconscious when rescue personnel found him in the water, was ultimately rushed to Baptist Medical Center. The injured accident victim remains hospitalized in critical condition. The extent of his injuries remained undisclosed.

As previously mentioned, authorities appeared to believe Abernathy was the sole individual involved in the Florida boating accident. According to Lt. John Conboy, of the FWC, “We had a search for the possibility of a second person, but once we got some eyewitness accounts, they believe there was only one person on board the vessel.”

Statistical data provided by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) indicated 668 boat accidents occurred during the year 2010. Those boat crashes and accidents resulted in 79 boating deaths and 389 injuries. Statistics suggest Florida has more boating accidents than any other state in the nation.

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MIAMI, FL—A 42-foot vessel overturned on the Homosassa River in North Florida on August 21, killing one person and leaving nine additional accident victims injured. According to information provided by Tampa Bay Online, the violent boat crash occurred in Citrus County and is being investigated by authorities from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Police and witness reports suggested 48-year-old GMC car dealership owner Robert Wade Phillips was operating his offshore fishing boat, the Contender, in the Homosassa River when it capsized and flipped for unknown reasons. The Hermosa Springs man was sadly killed in the boating accident.

Phillips’ wife, 43-year-old April Phillips, along with his two kids, 18-year-old Wade and 15-year-old Asten, suffered unspecified injuries in the boat wreck. Officials identified the remaining accident victims as 19-year-old Rebecca Anderson, 20-year-old Peyton Valls, 16-year-old Samantha Pauley, 17-year-old Delaney Jean Owens, 47-year-old Reid Paul Callahan, and 57-year-old Lester Kemp. They were rushed to local hospitals to be treated for their wounds. The extent of the surviving victims’ injuries was not clear.

Although it also remained unclear whether the victims were wearing life jackets at the time of the wreck, boating safety advocates and boat accident attorneys, such as the Miami injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, have long supported the use of life jackets to protect boat operators and their passengers from serious harm. According to the National Safe Boating Council, about 84 percent of drowning deaths could have been prevented if the victims would have chosen to wear a life jacket, otherwise known as a personal flotation device (PFD).

The FWC is expected to conduct a full probe into the fatal boating accident.

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MIAMI, FL— August 11, 2011 – A Delaware man and his 11-year-old son were hospitalized with severe injuries in Miami after they became involved in a violent boating accident less than ten miles south of Key Largo. According to information provided by the Key West Citizen, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office are investigating what caused a 46-foot crewed charter boat to hit the father and son as they were swimming in the water, about to dive near Conch Reef.

Reports indicated 39-year-old Calvin Adkins chartered a boat from the Tavernier-based Florida Keys Dive Center and was about to go diving with his young son when the vessel’s propellers apparently struck them in the water around 9 a.m. According to FWC spokesman Bobby Dube, “They were both alive when they left here, but we heard that the son is not doing too well.” The charter vessel that hit them was called the Big Dipper.

Both of the boat accident victims were flown to Miami hospitals following the horrific incident. The father, who reportedly sustained serious injuries, was taken to Baptist Hospital for treatment, while the injured child was rushed to Miami Children’s Hospital. The 11-year-old, who suffered more serious injuries than his dad, reportedly underwent emergency surgery after the boat accident.

While the cause of the Florida boating accident remained unclear, investigations are underway.

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