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Two Men Killed in Boating Accident

Two men were killed and two women were injured in a boating accident last Sunday on Lake Jessup. The accident occurred a little after 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, when an airboat struck the support beams of a bridge under the State Road 417 bridge. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that the operator of the airboat, Mark Anthony Cruz, 51, and passenger Joel Thomas Arnold, 47, died in the accident.

Authorities are unsure of why the accident occurred and no other boats were involved. Two women who were also passengers on the boat were injured and taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment. The fifth passenger, Mr. Cruz’s wife, refused treatment at the scene. Mr. Cruz’s body was recovered shortly after the accident at the scene, and Mr. Arnold’s body was recovered late on Monday morning.

A crash involving an unoccupied Seminole County Sheriff’s Office vehicle that was parked on State Road 417 was also related to the boating accident. One person was taken to the hospital after that incident with unknown injuries.

Florida Boating Accident Statistics

In 2013, Florida led the nation in the total number of registered boats with 896,632 vessels last year. In addition, there were 736 reportable boating accidents that occurred throughout the state. Over 40% of the fatal accidents involved falling overboard and was the main cause of boating fatalities. The leading cause of death in 75% of the fatal accidents was drowning, and 84% of the victims in fatal boating accidents last year were males.

The total fatality count from boating accidents last year in Florida was reported at 62. A total of 72% of the operators involved in fatal boating accidents were over the age of 35. In addition, of the 736 accidents reported last year, 420 people were injured and eight people are still considered missing.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

A boating accident occurs when a boat or personal watercraft is involved in an incident that causes harm to person or property. This includes property damage, total vessel loss, missing persons, injuries, and death. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the most common types of boating accidents include:

  • Collision with another vessel;
  • Collision with a fixed object, sometimes submerged;
  • Collision with a floating object;
  • Accidents involving a skier or person on a towable object;
  • Accidents involving a person falling overboard;
  • Capsizing;
  • Running aground, sinking, flooding, or swamping;
  • Fire or explosion;
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning;

…and other types of boating accidents that result from the negligence of the operator or passengers.

Call a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

A boating accident can turn a fun day on the water into a tragic accident in an instant. If you or someone that you know has been injured in a boating accident in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, or the West Palm Beach area, let the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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