Students at Middleburg High School in Clay County had grief counselors on campus Tuesday, February 22, one day after two students were killed in a boating accident on Black Creek, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators report that a 17-year-old male was sitting next to a 15-year-old female on the bow of the 18-foot boat, moving at a good rate of speed, when they collided with a low hanging tree branch that struck the teens in the chest and head. Channel 4 reports that the father of the male teen had turned around to retrieve a fuel pump when he lost control of the boat which veered toward the north bank, a few miles east of the County Road 209 bridge.
The father was reported by the station to have been hospitalized and released.
FWC investigators do not believe alcohol was a factor, even though some beer was found in the boat. The three had spent the day water skiing and water boarding and were on their way back home.
A passing boater came upon the scene and made a 9-1-1 call saying the teens appeared to be unconscious. Our sincere condolences go out to the families of these young teens who were said to be the best of friends.
Florida Boating Accident Statistics
According to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida had 54 boating fatalities in 2008, the second highest number of boating deaths in the country. Only Texas had more fatalities with 61 deaths. There were 65 boating deaths in Florida in 2009, according to FWC, and the state had 982,470 registered boats.
FWC reported that falling overboard resulted in the greatest number of deaths, followed by capsizing, flooding or swamping, a collision with a fixed object, or a collision with a vessel. Most accidents happen in the afternoon into the early evening. Trauma was the primary cause of death 29% of the time, while drowning accounted for 69% of deaths, according to FWC.
Our prayers go out for a speedy recovery of the father involved in this terrible tragedy. If you or a loved one have been involved in a maritime accident, the experienced Florida boating injury accident attorneys at Farah & Farah are always available to discuss your options. Call us in Jacksonville at (904) 396-5555.