Florida Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez is one of three people who died Sunday morning in a boating accident off Miami Beach. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to a report of a 32-foot boat that crashed into the north jetty of the Government Cut inlet. Fire Rescue Chief, Todd Garofalo, stated that an “initial search [found] three victims – two on top of the water, one underneath the boat…” The identities of the other victims have not been released. Details on how the boat ended up on the jetty and who was the operator are unknown at this time. Government Cut is the main waterway connecting the Port of Miami to the Atlantic Ocean.
It is being reported from Fernandina Beach, Florida that a boater has drowned near the Goffinsville Park and Ramp in the Nassau River while launching an aluminum fishing boat. The man, identified as 55-year-old, Anthony Rankin, from Yulee, Florida. Lt. Tony Wright of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated that Mr. Rankin and another man were launching a fishing boat near 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The victim stayed in the boat while the other man parked the motor vehicle and trailer. A witness on the scene reported that Mr. Rankin “gave too much throttle” causing him to go overboard. Mr. Rankin attempted to hold onto the circling boat while in the water before letting go and attempting to swim to shore. While swimming to shore it is reported that Mr. Rankin “struggled and went under the water.” Bystanders pulled Mr. Rankin from the water and preformed CPR until medics arrived. He was taken to Baptist Medical Center Nassau where he died.
A second crewmember has died from the July 20th incident wherein a lifeboat fell from the NCL operated Norwegian Breakaway while docked at Kings Wharf, Bermuda. As previously reported by The Maritime Law Blog, four crewmembers fell into the water when a lifeboat they were manning during a drill broke from its tether. Four of the crewmembers were taken to an area hospital were Diogenes Carpio died from his injuries. One of there other crewmembers, Ben Buenaventura, who was a waiter aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, was medevaced to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami wherein he was admitted into the intensive care unit. It was reported that Mr. Buenaventura suffered a traumatic brain injury along with fractured legs, hip and right arm. After spending over a month in intensive care, Mr. Buenaventura succumbed to his injuries.
The United States Coast Guard medevaced a 71-year-old female passenger from the Carnival Dream after she started have difficulty breathing. The medical emergency was reported the morning of September 18 when the cruise ship was near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The ship notified the Coast Guard that the passenger was showing signs of respiratory distress. The Coast Guard decided to dispatch a helicopter crew from its New Orleans air station to air-lift the passenger. The helicopter intercepted the cruise ship where the passenger and the ship’s doctor was taken to West Jefferson Medical Center. The passenger is listed in stable condition.
We often write about personal watercraft rental and tour companies liability. Unlike most other rental businesses, the Florida legislator and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have imposed certain regulations requiring these companies to provide specific instruction to their customers before allowing them on the water. Penalties for violating such statutes including a finding that any pre-injury release and wavier of liability signed by the renter to be null and void and a finding that the rental company is presumably at fault for the accident. Recently, a Federal Court was asked to rule as a matter of law whether a personal watercraft rental and tour company’s alleged statutory violations rendered its pre-injury release and waiver of liability unenforceable and whether the company was to be presumed at fault for the accident resulting in two of its customers to be air-lifted to the hospital.