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Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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Many teens spend their summer days splashing around in one of the South Florida’s majestic waterways. The days are meant to be wild and carefree, but sometimes the summer days can turn deadly. Yesterday, two teenage girls were tubing in the intercoastal waterway near Tampa Bay when they crashed into a dock, killing one of the girls and leaving the other hospitalized.

The girls, fifteen-year-old Deviny Boese and sixteen-year-old Sarah Doobs, were ridin g on an inner tube that was being pulled by a fishing boat when the boat’s fifteen-year-old driver attempted to make a turn. The girls smashed into the dock and were ejected from the inter tube. Boese died in a St. Petersburg hospital while Dobbs was treated for an ankle injury at another area hospital. The driver and other boat passenger were not injured. While the investigation is still ongoing, authorities have stated that the teens did not have permission to take the boat out into the water.

1 girl killed, 1 injured in tubing accident, www.miamiherald.com July 17, 2012.

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Florida is the nation’s leading boating state, with almost one million registered boats. However, that also makes Florida one of the top ten states for boating accidents. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released its annual report on 2011 boating accidents and deaths today, revealing a staggering number of deaths and accidents.

Sixty-seven people died in boating accidents in 2011 and over four hundred and thirty people were injured in boating related accidents. According to the Conservation Commission’s report, the man cause of death was falls overboard. Investigator Andy Bickel stated that wearing life jackets could have prevented the high number of drowning deaths. Lastly, the report revealed that alcohol and drugs were involved in almost fifteen percent of boating related accidents this past year.

The highest number of boating related deaths occurred in Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys, and had the highest number of accidents. The Conservation Commission has reported that almost thirty boating deaths have already occurred this year.

67 boating deaths reported in Florida in 2011, www.miamiherald.com July 11, 2012.

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While visiting Philadelphia with their church group two years ago, two Hungarian students decided to take a sightseeing tour of the city down the Delaware River and boarded the Ride the Ducks duck boat. As the 33-foot-long boat made its way down the river, it eventually anchored itself in an active shipping lane along its route and sat idle. As the boat sat idle 150 yards from shore, a tugboat pushed a 250-foot-long barge into and over the boat, sending almost forty people into the water. The two Hungarians lost their lives trying to help the others.

Following their children’s deaths, the parents of the Hungarian students filed a wrongful death lawsuit against K-Sea Transportation, the operator of the tugboat that was guiding the barge, and against Ride the Ducks, the tour company. The families argued that both companies had unclear safety procedures and poor training and procedures that led to the crash. Both parties blamed each other for the crash. When the crash occurred, the driver of the tugboat was on his cell phone and in a part of the boat where he was unable to see the river. Because he was on his cell phone, the tugboat driver had turned down the marine radio, leaving him unable to hear the mayday calls before the barge crashed into the boat.

After the families filed suit, both K Sea and Ride the Ducks attempted to limit their liability to the value of the vessels involved in the crash: $150,000 for the duck boat and $1.65 million for the tugboat. However, after just two days of trial testimony, the families reached a settlement with the companies for $17 million. The families of the two students who died in the crash will split $15 million and the remaining $2 million will be split among the eighteen remaining survivors of the crash.

$17M settlement in deadly Philly duck boat crash, www.miamiherald.com May 9, 2012.

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Last November, Joey Gratton and Stephen Page were racing towards victory in the Key West Super Boat World Championship when disaster struck in the final law of the race–Gratton and Page’s 38-foot catamaran overturned as the drivers rounded the first turn. Page was able to exit the boat through an escape hatch built into the floor of the cockpit, but Gratton remained trapped by the harness system that was designed to keep him safe during races. The boat began to sink with Gratton trapped inside. Gratton drowned as the boat went under water.

Gratton’s widow, Priscilla Gratton, has filed a wrongful death suit in Broward Circuit Court against John Carbonell, the President of Super Boat International Productions, Inc. and against the race’s medical directors, Donald DiPetrillo and Brian Haff. The suit alleges that Gratton was alive and uninjured following the crash, but that Carbonell refused to deploy certified rescue dive paramedics in an effort to avoid their cost. Instead, the suit alleges, Carbonell ordered two “untrained, inexperienced and ill-equipped volunteers” on a nearby boat to respond to the crash. The volunteers took several minutes to reach the boat, and by the time they arrived, the suit claims, Gratton was already trapped inside, his emergency oxygen tank was depleted, and as a result, Gratton drowned.

In the complaint, filed with the Court in February, former president of the American Power Boat Association Michael Allweiss stated, “This should have been a routine, successful rescue, had Defendants merely followed standard industry practices, procedures and [Super Boat International’s] own rules.” Gratton’s death followed the drowning deaths of two other racers at the event’s opening two days earlier. The wrongful death suit also alleges gross negligence, claiming Carbonell prevented rescue personnel from conducting pre-race safety inspections in an effort to avoid liability in light of a crash.

Widow files suit over powerboat racer’s death in Key West race, www.miamiherald.com February 20, 2012.

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A 25-foot Hydra Sports center console boat hit a seawall along South Ocena Drive just north of the Hallandale Bridge, killing a South Florida man. The boat crashed into the seawall so hard that it broke through the seawall and hit the seawall on the opposite side. Forty-one year old Aldo Antonio Rodriguez became trapped in the boat when it crashed into the seawall. A female passenger, Odalys Diaz, was thrown into the water upon impact.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman stated that when investigators arrived the boat had a foot of water above the deck and was quickly sinking. Investigators have not yet identified what caused the crash but believe that speed may have been a contributing factor.

Diaz was recovered from the water and sent to Memorial Regional Hospital where she remains in critical condition. A Good Samaritan who saw the accident unfold was able to stabilize the rising water in the boat so that emergency workers could get to Rodriguez. More than twenty emergency workers assisted and trying to get Rodriguez from the hull of the boat. The boat had to be cut away to get him out of the hull. Once he was free, he was also rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

1 Killed, 1 Hurt In Hallandale Beach Boat Crash, www.cbsmiami.com November 28, 2011.

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On Sunday, seventeen year-old Coral Springs resident Randolph Bieszcazk was inside a South Florida canal with two of his friends enjoying a day in the sun and on the boat. According to witnesses and the police, Bieszczak was riding on an inner tube that was being hauled by the boat when the tube hit the bank of the canal. The teen was unable to sustain the impact of the crash and died immediately in the canal.

Friends and family members are still in a state of shock, but are sure of one thing–alcohol was not a factor in the accident. “I’ve never seen him drunk, never seen him with any type of drugs. Always a good kid, always laughing, having fun,” stated Krysropher Malarski, as he described his friend. The police are still investigating what caused the tube to crash into the bank of the canal and have not yet filed any charges against the boat’s operator. In the meantime, Bieszczak’s family is preparing for his funeral.

Teen killed in boating accident, www.wsvn.com August 22, 2011.

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A Cape Coral man was charged by the Florida State Attorney’s office for operating a boat under the influence. The man was operating a 37-foot boat with two other passengers when he crashed the boat into a seawall on Coral Point Drive. The boat was launched into the air and landed in a vacant lot. While the driver and one of the passengers only sustained minor injuries, a thirty five year old passenger was taken for emergency surgery at a Florida hospital. He was then sent to a hospital in his home state, where he later died.

The case investigator’s poured over hundreds of pages of documents and other evidence before deciding to charge the man. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s investigators determined that alcohol was being consumed on the boat, that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash and that the boat was going too fast when it crashed into the sea wall.

The boat’s driver has been charged with BUI manslaughter, BUI involving serious injury and BUI with damage for the death of his passenger and the destruction caused to the seawall. If convicted, the boat’s driver could potentially spend 21 years in prison.

Man charged in fatal Cape Coral boat crash, www.nbc-2.com March 01, 2011.

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Florida is known for its great weather and outdoor activities. One of these popular activities in Florida, especially in Miami Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe County includes boating and swimming. Steven Posner and a friend both died in a tragic boat accident on November 29, 2010, on a beautiful sunny day in Miami, Florida. Steven Posner is the son of the late Victor Posner who was a famous business man whom resided in Miami-Beach, Florida. It is presumed that Steven Posner’s 44-foot high performance catamaran was racing a 46-foot high powered racing boat owned by Fritz Eigelshoven before the boating accident occurred. Steven Posner and a friend both died in this tragic accident while they were en route to their North Miami marina. Also onboard Steven Posner’s boat vessel was Stuart Posner, Steven’s cousin, who was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Mr. Eigelshoven also suffered rib injuries as a result of this boating accident and was taken to the hospital.

This accident occurred a mile or two east of Matheson Hammock Marina in Key Biscayne, Florida around 1 p.m. Witnesses nearby tried to help the victims in the tragic boating accident by radioing for help. Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said that based on accounts from eyewitness that both boat vessels were traveling at a high rate of speeds prior to colliding with one another. Both of these boats were high powered racing catamarans which were capable of rocketing to speed of more than 100 mph.

Unfortunately, boating accidents like this one are very common in South Florida, especially in the Florida Keys, Key Largo, Key West, Miami and Key Biscayne area. It is important to always make sure that you are responsible while operating a boat vessel in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Driving boats at high rates of speed is dangerous for everyone involved including those inside the boat vessel and those who may be around the area on other boats. If you are operating a boat do not forget that their may be others swimming around you while you drive your boat which may result in a tragic swimming accident.


Steven Posner killed in Biscayne Bay boat crash
, MiamiHerald.com, November 29, 2010

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