FWC, Coast Guard to Investigate Deadly Florida Keys Charter Boat Sinking

MIAMI, FL—Authorities from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Coast Guard are investigating what might have caused a 25-foot charter boat to sink in the Florida Keys on Dec. 18. According to information provided by the Miami Herald, eight people were aboard the Key Largo Scuba Shack-operated vessel when it sank at approximately 3:15 p.m., ultimately claiming the life of a Washington State woman.

Eight individuals, including six divers, were aboard a Key Largo Scuba Shack-owned dive boat—the “Get Wet”— when for unknown reasons, the boat capsized and sank. Officer Bobby Dube of the FWC stated that according to witnesses, it only took “about two minutes” for the charter boat to sink.

Reports indicated 36-year-old tourist diver Aimee Rhoads was trapped inside the cabin of the dive boat when it capsized. Rescue crews performed CPR on Rhoads in an attempt to revive her, but to no avail. The victim was ultimately pronounced dead.

A second diver, 27-year-old New York man Amit Rampurkarl, was rushed to Kendall-based Baptist Hospital after he too became trapped in the cabin of the sinking dive boat. FWC spokesman Bobby Dube said that victim was hospitalized in critical condition.

The boat captain, one crew member and four other divers who were rescued following the Florida Keys accident managed to escape serious injury. The boat was reportedly headed to a well-known dive spot on Molasses Reef—located near Key Largo—when the boat began to take on water.

Dube told reporters the FWC will be looking into not only what caused the boat to sink, but why two of the divers on board became trapped. “Right now it’s a mystery why it sank, with more questions than answers… Even with just two minutes, they should have had time to get out… Maybe they went back to retrieve personal items. We don’t know. It’s just speculation right now,” he said.

Statistical data provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  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.

About the Miami boat accident attorneys and cruise ship injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.
With four decades of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of boat and cruise line passengers who are hurt or assaulted onboard, the knowledgeable South Florida injury law firm of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting the rights of these individuals and fighting to provide them with the compensation they deserve. Working closely with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Miami injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. strive to provide justice to individuals who suffer serious injuries in a wide variety of boating accidents.

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