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Articles Posted in Florida Boat Accident Law

Airboat-Flips-Killing-TWo-Men-300x161Two boaters were found dead Sunday night around 8:30 p.m. following their airboat flipping at around 5:00 p.m. near the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp in central Brevard.  Four men were on the airboat at the time of the accident; two were able to make it to shore without incident and two others went missing in the water.  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Brevard County Sheriff’s officials responded to the scene of the accident and spent several hours searching for the two missing men with the assistance of the Brevard Sheriff’s office agricultural unit and dive team as well as the agency’s helicopter.  The bodies of the two drowned men were located at approximately 8:30 p.m.  They are described as men between the ages of 70-80 and it remains unknown whether they were wearing life jackets.   The area where the incident occurred is a popular tourist stop for those interested in flat-bottom boat rides.  We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of these two men.

This incident is the second airboat incident in less than a month.  In late October, we wrote about another airboat incident involving an airboat that crashed head-on into a tree at a high rate of speed and which resulted in critical injuries to two of the fifteen passengers.  Florida law does not require boaters to obtain a license.  A boating safety course is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more.  Still, the law provides several exemptions.  Additionally, with respect to airboats, there are no separate education requirements.

Our board certified attorneys are highly experienced in handling wrongful death claims resulting from airboat collisions.  With accidents involving airboats, there are several important considerations such as whether the accident occurred on navigable waters, whether the airboat was properly maintained and inspected, and if a tour company was involved, whether the tour company and tour guide were properly licensed.

 

John Skylar Brogdon (Family Photo )Two boats collided on Saturday morning at Lake Talquin in Leon County, Florida resulting in the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy. According to reports, the collision occurred due to miscommunication between the two boats.  Two adults, a man and a woman, from one of the vessels were injured and were transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.  The 10-year-old, John Skylar Brogdon, was reported missing following the accident.  According to a family member of the boy, they were fishing and had visited a few fishing holes when John wanted to use the restroom.  As the boat was headed to the landing for John to use the restroom, the accident occurred.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the accident and jointly conducted a search and rescue operation for the boy starting at around 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon and continuing into Monday morning.  Per reports there are approximately 15 divers searching for the child.  Family members and friends are also helping, bringing their own boats to help with the search, which has unfortunately turned into a recovery operation.  As of Sunday afternoon, law enforcement was awaiting for the arrival of sonar equipment to assist in the search.

The cause of the accidents remains under investigation by FWC.

Tom_and_Jerrys_Airboat_Accident-300x200A Tom & Jerry’s Airboat Rides crash injured several passengers during a morning tour. The airboat tour boat operating out of central Florida lost control and crashed head-on into a tree at a high rate of speed. Out of the fifteen aboard, fourteen were injured, two of which sustained critical injuries.

The tour started at 10:00 A.M. on the morning of October 24th. There were three parties aboard, a father and son from the United Kingdom, a group of ten also from the United Kingdom and a family of three from the United States. The guide took the fifteen passengers to an area near the landing which contained cypress trees where he pointed out wildlife and provided historical information. The tour guide then operated the airboat down a narrow creek in the direction of Lake Panasoffkee at a fast rate of speed sweeping right then sweeping left in a serpentine type pattern. While sweeping left, the boat collided head-on with a tree on the bank. The collision with the tree was at such a force that many of the passengers were injured as they struck the railings and seats in front of them. After the collision, it was discovered that the tour guide did not have a radio and was unable to obtain a signal on his cell phone. It was one of the injured passengers who contacted Tom & Jerry’s Airboat Rides to report the accident and the need for help. The airboat tour company sent another boat that ferried the passengers back to the landing where first responders were waiting.

Our board certified lawyers have vast experience handling personal injury claims resulting from airboat collisions. There are several key factors that come into play when prosecuting airboat personal injury claims. These include whether the accident occurred on navigable waters, whether the tour company and tour guide were properly licensed as well as whether the airboat was properly maintained and inspected. Our lawyers also have success in obtaining court rulings invalidating the personal injury waivers typically used by such tour operators.

Boat-Crash-Kills-1-2-injured-300x163A personal watercraft crashed into a boat on Sunday at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Lake Louise in Windermere, Florida. Larry Marin, 37, the operator of the personal watercraft was pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.  Glorimar Correa, 40, the passenger on the personal watercraft and William Bryant, 39, the operator of the boat were both transferred to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.  Per reports, the watercraft crashed into the boat with such force that it sank the personal watercraft.  Witness, Carina Lee Rodriguez said her friends rescued the victims from the water and took them ashore.  She reported the female victim could not breath and couldn’t feel her legs and the man, presumably Marin, was bleeding.  Orange County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit responded to the scene and continues to investigate.

 

 

Photo credit: Pepin AcademiesDr. Craig Butz, 52, of Altamonte Springs was operating a personal watercraft with his 4-year-old daughter as a passenger when his jet ski collided with a center console boat operated by Thomas Carey, 67, of Clearwater. The collission happened near 941 Bay Esplanade near Clearwater Beach around 4:45 p.m. on Sunday. Dr. Butz was taken to Morton Plant Hospital in critical condition where he died upon arrival. His 4-year-old daughter was airlfited to Bayfront Health Hospital where she remains in critical condition. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is currently investigating the incident.

Dr. Butz was Executive Director of Pepin Academies, a charter school for children with learning disabilities. We extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Butz’s family and loved ones and wish his young child a speedy recovery.

 

Two-Killed-in-Jet-Ski-Allission-300x218Two tourists are reported dead after the 10-foot Yamaha Waverunner they were riding on slammed into a concrete bridge support in the area of the Bridge Road Causeway, north of the MacArthur Causeway.

Sabrina Daniels, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia and Julio Monteiro, 30, of Brockton, Massachusetts traveled with friends to attend the Miami Beach Kizomba Festival.  On Monday, the group of friends rented a yacht near Star Island and took turns riding jet skis.  At about 5:30 p.m. Monteiro was driving the watercraft traveling eastbound towards the causeway, when both he and Daniels were ejected into the water after hitting the concrete bridge arch.

Daniels and Monteiro were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where they died from their injuries.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is currently investigating the crash.

Florida-Jet-Ski-Accident-Henry-Wise-300x193One man is missing from Florida Jet Ski accident which occurred on July Fourth. Henry Wise and Gavin Primm of Alabama were riding on a jet ski which collided with a boat near the Highland View Boat Ramp. The ramp is located near Saint Joseph’s Bay. Primm was pulled out of the water and taken to Bay Medical Center Hospital wherein he was initially listed in critical condition on but since been upgraded to stable. Wise was never located. The Coast Guard stated that his life vest was cut off by the boat’s propeller. Though the Coast Guard suspended its search, other agencies are still looking for Wise. The boat involved in the collision was operated by 19-year-old Robert Bratkinewiez also from Alabama. As of the date of this post, no charges have been filed against anyone involved in the Jet Ski accident. This is the second Florida jet ski accident involving a collision within recent weeks.

jetskichannelmarker-300x203A 19-year-old young woman, identified as Sarah Flanagan of League City, Texas was killed when the personal watercraft she was operating on Choctawhatchee Bay was struck by a 30-foot boat operated by 76-year-old Johnny Pope of Shalimar, Florida.

Per news reports, Flanagan was visiting Destin, Florida from Texas and had rented the personal watercraft she was operating.  At the time the accident occurred, she was riding with a group of people.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s initial report, the two vessels collided at a 90-degree angle and upon impact, Flanagan was thrown from the watercraft. A person accompanying Flanagan jumped in the water, pulled her onto his personal watercraft and took her to a nearby marina where he met EMS.  Flanagan suffered extensive head injuries and was pronounced dead at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.  At this time the report does not indicate who was at fault.  Per FWC, there were no signs of impairment in either operator.

FindIsablla-300x300The FBI and U.S. Coast Guard are investigating the disappearance of a 41-year-old Florida woman 100 km off Key West. Isabella Hellman and her husband, Lewis Bennett, married in February and departed on a Caribbean vacation on their 37-foot catamaran with planned stops in St. Maarten and Cuba as part of a belated honeymoon.

According to Bennett, the couple left Cuba at about 5:30 p.m. on May 14 and were 60 miles off the Florida Keys when their boat struck an unknown object and began taking water. Bennett claims he was asleep while his wife was on watch and he was awakened by a collision at approximately 1:00 a.m. Per Bennett, Hellman was nowhere to be found leaving him no choice but to jump onto a lifeboat and call for help. The Coast Guard briefly inspected the boat and searched for Hellman for three days with no luck. Earlier this week, the Coast Guard reported that they lost track of the boat even though they had attached a beacon to it to not lose track of it.

Per reports, Hellman and Bennett often argued about the raising of their nine-month old daughter, Emelia, and about moving to Australia, which Bennett insisted upon but Hellman refused.

Rivero-19-Killed-in-Boating-Accident-300x199Chance Rivero, a 19-year-old Vero Beach resident was killed Saturday night when the boat he was a passenger of hit a channel marker, ejecting him from it and into the water.  Per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation the boat, the 17-foot Carolina Skiff was carrying six people on board, heading north in the Indian River Lagoon, when it struck an Intracoastal Waterway channel marker a mile south of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge.  After the impact, Rivero was thrown into the water and the boat was able to turn around and pull him out of the lagoon.  Michael Ketcham, 20, was also injured in the mishap sustaining lacerations on his spleen and other potential internal injuries.  Although the accident is still under investigation, it appears to be alcohol related.  We extend our deepest condolences to Rivero’s family and loved ones and wish Ketcham a speedy recovery.