Two 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.