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Accidents: case by case

A sampling of statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2005 Fatal Boating Accident Summaries:

A sampling of statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2005 Fatal Boating Accident Summaries:

Date: Dec. 2, 2005

County: Seminole County

Body of Water: Lake Fairy

Victim(s): 1

On the above date, three adult females were cruising on Lake Fairy in a 22-foot cuddy cabin. The lake is located in Seminole County. According to a witness, one passenger appeared to stand up and fall backwards overboard into the water. The occupants located the passenger’s body with a flashlight at the bottom of the lake in 7 feet of water. The operator marked the location with a GPS and returned to the dock to call for emergency assistance. The victim was recovered by law enforcement upon their arrival.

Date: Nov. 30, 2005

County: Wakulla County

Body of Water: St. Marks River

Victim(s): 1

On Nov. 30, 2005, the victim left St. Marks public boat launch for a day of fishing on the St. Marks River in Wakulla County. The victim was fishing out of a 14-foot aluminum jonboat. Around 3 p.m. FWC dispatch was notified that a boat was found in the St. Marks River running in circles with no one on board. FWC officers were dispatched to the scene and a search was started. Two witnesses gave a description of the clothes the operator was wearing, which included blue jeans, heavy grey jacket, gloves and large black rubber boots. These witnesses helped the victim launch his boat and stated that he had mentioned he had a cast net and he intended to cast the net for baitfish. A cooler and a broken seat were located floating down river from where the runaway boat was located. The victim’s body was found Dec. 6, 2005, by FWC aircraft. The victim was not wearing a life jacket. Preliminary autopsy reports from the medical examiner ruled the cause of death was drowning.

Date: Nov. 17, 2005

County: Pinellas County

Body of Water: Anclote River

Victim(s): 1

On Nov. 17, 2005, a jonboat was traveling west on the Anclote River around 8 p.m. in Pinellas County. The boat was being operated on plane with an operator and three passengers. The vessel collided with a residential dock that extended into the river. One of the passengers was killed as a result of the accident. Preliminary information indicates alcohol may be a factor in the accident.

Date: Nov. 11, 2005

County: Palm Beach

Body of Water: ICW at Marker No. 40,

East of the Lantana Bridge

Victim(s): 1

On Nov. 11, 2005, the operator and two occupants left a restaurant in Boyton Beach heading north on the ICW around 8:15 p.m. The vessel they were traveling in was a 15-foot center console Key West. The vessel collided with a channel marker and all three occupants were ejected, after which the vessel continued under way unoccupied. The operator suffered minor injuries and the female occupant sitting beside him sustained fatal injuries. The other occupant was uninjured. They were rescued by a personal watercraft operator and another passing boat. The unoccupied boat continued south and struck several docks before coming to rest at a dock in Lantana.

Date: Sept. 29, 2005

County: St. Lucie

Body of Water: Fort Pierce Inlet

Victim(s): 1

On Sept. 29, 2005, two individuals were fishing out of a 1988, 17-foot center console Wellcraft one mile north of the Fort Pierce Inlet in St. Lucie County. They had anchored the boat in a position where both of them were facing the beach while fishing. A wave swamped the boat and filled it with water causing the passenger to fall out of the boat. The operator was unable to throw the victim a PFD. He was able to get the anchor up and by the time he got the boat turned around the victim had disappeared. The body was later discovered, and the cause of death was determined to be drowning. The victim was not wearing a PFD.

Date: Sept. 18, 2005

County: Miami-Dade

Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean

Victim(s): 1

On Sept. 18, 2005, the female victim was bow riding on a 1995, 25-foot Four Winns on the Atlantic Ocean in Miami-Dade County. The boat struck a wave and she fell over the left port bow. The bow rail broke as she attempted to hold on. The operator of the boat turned the wheel to starboard and placed the throttles in neutral. The operator advised investigators he felt the boat and engine hit the deceased. He also advised she had a pulse, and he held her head above the water as he swam her back to the boat. The victim died as a result of the injuries she received from the boating accident.

Date: Sept. 18, 2005

County: Orange

Body of Water: Lake Roberts

Victim(s): 1

On Sept. 18, 2005, around 5:18 p.m., a PWC was traveling westbound along the south shoreline of Lake Roberts toward a dock in Orange County. The victim of this accident was standing on the dock with other family members as the vessel approached. Several witnesses stated the vessel was coming toward them at a high rate of speed, and slowed slightly as it came closer. The PWC subsequently hit the lower decking of the dock (just below the water line) causing the bow of the PWC to rise upward. The PWC then hit the upper decking of the dock as it continued forward. The PWC then left the water, landing on top of the dock as it struck the victim. The victim sustained extensive head injuries. The victim, a 2-year-old male, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Date: Sept. 12, 2005

County: Indian River

Body of Water: Indian River at

the Wabasso Relief Bridge

Victim(s): 1

On Sept. 12, 2005, around 4 p.m., a 20-foot center console Sportscraft was traveling southbound on plane in the ICW channel near the County Road 510 causeway in Indian River County. The vessel’s operator turned westerly toward the middle span of the CR 510 relief bridge. On approaching the bridge, the operator slowed the vessel slightly and attempted to go under the bridge. The vessel’s T-Top struck the bridge beam, causing the center console to pull loose from the deck, and forced the console and T-Top toward the stern of the vessel. The operator was ejected into the water. A passenger unsuccessfully attempted to locate the operator. The vessel occupant suffered a possible broken nose and a cut to his elbow and lower leg. The body of the operator was recovered; an autopsy revealed the cause of death was drowning.