VIDEO: Three-boat crash kills four in Florida

Author:
Updated:
Original:
crash20707

A three-boat crash July 4 in Florida’s Biscayne Bay killed four and sent a dozen to area hospitals following a fireworks display in a scene rescuers called “as chaotic as chaotic could be.”

By Sunday, investigators were forming a clearer picture of what happened in the deadly three-boat crash, which claimed the lives of four people and injured seven.

It started when a 2003 32-foot Contender center-console boat careened into the Hanono family’s boat—a 2005 36-foot Carrera center console — spun out of control and hit a third boat, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the Miami Herald.

The impact threw most of the people aboard the Contender into Biscayne Bay. Three of them died — Andrew Garcia, 23, Victoria Dempsey, 20, and Kelsie Karpiak, 24. Two others aboard, Catherine Payan, 24, and Samantha Rolth, were critically injured.

Jason Soleimani, a 23-year-old from New York state aboard the Carrera, was killed on impact. Girlfriend Heather Hanono told the paper she suffered a dislocated shoulder and a concussion. One other adult on the boat was treated and released, but a third was critically injured and remained hospitalized this morning.

There were eight people on the third vessel, a 2014 35-foot Boston Whaler center console, and all but one, who had a minor cut to the left thigh, were uninjured.

Capt. Burt Korpela, of Atlantis Marine Towing and Salvage, one of the first on the scene, said he found the Contender spinning out of control. "The boat was running out of control in circles 20 to 25 miles per hour, limited lights on the boat," he told CBS4.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jorge Pino said Sunday that officials were still investigating what caused the deadly crash, which happened about 10:40 p.m. Friday after the fireworks display.

Describing the scene as “as chaotic as chaotic could be,” Pino said Sunday that the challenge at the time was trying to determine how many people were involved. Several agencies pitched in to ferry victims back to the dock.

“All of the people on the first boat were in the water, so it was a real challenge trying to figure out how many people were out there,” he said.

He said that every year on July 4 hundreds of boats head back to the shore after the fireworks “in a mad dash.” Unlike streets, there are no lanes and there is no “speed limit, per se,” he said.

“It’s not like we can have someone out there directing traffic,” he said. Boaters often zoom through the open bay, crisscrossing, he said.

Pino said the accident involved two separate collisions, one right after the other. All three boats were towed in, and Fish and Wildlife will hold them for investigation at its base in North Miami.

On July 4, 2012, a 34-foot Silverton capsized in Oyster Bay, N.Y., after a fireworks show and left three children dead, garnering national attention.

As recently as April, legislators have continued to push for new regulatory legislation to address capacity limits on recreational vessels.

Related

Lowrance Unveils New Sonar and Fishfinder Series

The ActiveTarget Live Sonar views show high-resolution images of fish movements in real time and in greater detail.

Oyster Looks to Expand its Workforce

The U.K. builder continues its recruiting drive for both experienced craftsmen and apprentices.

Finance Provider Goes Digital

Elite Recreational Finance has debuted a new tool to help dealers secure financing and close transactions remotely.

Quick Hits: December 4, 2020

SF Marina rebuilds New England marina; and BoatUS launches recast and recycle contest.

Fusion Unveils Wake Tower Speakers to Premium Signature Series 3 Collection

The new wake speakers are the first to feature five-color LED lighting.

Boot Düsseldorf 2021 Postponed Until Late April

With Covid-19 numbers remaining high across the EU, organizers say the event cannot be held in January.

Galati Goes Virtual

The yacht dealer has unveiled a virtual shopping tool that will help match customers with vessels as most boat shows are cancelled or moved online in the pandemic.

Quick Hits: December 3, 2020

Walter Meloon inducted into Wakeboarding Hall of Fame, and AMI announces virtual conference.