MIAMI (AP) — Four people have been confirmed dead in a Florida boat collision, authorities said Saturday.
The boaters are believed to have been out celebrating the Fourth of July holiday when the crash happened late Friday near the Dinner Key Marina in Miami.
Rescuers were alerted by one of the boaters at about 10:45 p.m. He said he’d been hit by another vessel and that his 36-foot pleasure craft was taking on water, the Coast Guard reported.
Eight people were taken to shore and transported to local hospitals. Two later died.
Commercial salvage crews found the second vessel believed involved in the crash. Two unconscious females were found on board.
Relatives of another female located her body in the water on Saturday, Jorge Pino, a public information officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
Investigators located the body of another missing person later Saturday morning, Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll said.
“My understanding is they may have been out there enjoying the fireworks display, and typically after the fireworks are over, everyone makes a mad dash for the nearest marina,” Pino said. “And unfortunately in the past we’ve seen where accidents have occurred during that time.”
Pino said the time of the crash coincides with when boaters are typically making their way back to the marina, though the exact circumstances were still under investigation.
Carroll described a chaotic scene Friday evening as rescuers tried to determine how many people were in the water.
“The numbers kept growing and growing,” Carroll said.
He recounted how one man waited anxiously at the dock to find out what had happened to his two grandchildren. Both arrived safely to shore.
“We were relieved to be able to let him know that they were OK,” Carroll said.