A jet skiing accident in Florida has taken the life of a top Brooklyn rabbinical student. The 21-year-old man and a member of a prominent family of Crown Heights rabbis, was killed Sunday, May 2, in Tampa Bay after a friend slammed his jet ski into him. Tampa police say that considerable speed was involved in the crash on the north side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. According to an NY Post article, the man was knocked into the water and pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital. His friend, who is living in Miami on a student visa, was driving the other watercraft. Tampa Police, through a spokeswoman, said if someone is recklessly driving a personal watercraft (PWC) that could constitute a crime. The state attorney’s office is considering charges.
Our condolences go out to the very large family of this man who was about to be ordained as a rabbi and has a large circle of friends, family and admirers.
Florida recreational boating accidents such as this one are not unusual. The personal watercraft industry will tell the public that these machines are no more dangerous that other recreational watercraft but PWC injuries occur 8.5 times as often as other motorized watercraft, according to industry statistics. The National Transportation Safety Board says personal watercraft or PWCs are the only recreational watercraft associated with a leading cause of death in recreational boating accidents other than drowning. Only about one-quarter of PWC fatalities are due to drowning. All others are due to injuries such as blunt force trauma, after colliding with another vessel, a floating object or a swimmer. NTSB finds that close to one-third of operators had used a PWC fewer than 10 times before their accident.
A PWCs operation is counterintuitive. When facing an imminent collision, the reaction to a novice would be to release the throttle. But that is the worst thing to do. To release the throttle means the operator cannot steer. The vessel has no rudder to control steering and no brakes and does not work the way an operator would expect. That is why a significant number of high risk injuries are associated with operator error and inexperience. Still PWC manufacturers show riders wake-jumping, turning sharply and operating with accurate precision around each other. That is exactly the kind of driving that has seriously killed riders and operators over the last two decades. A Florida injury attorney can help the families of those injured by the negligence of others, recoup medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation and pain and suffering.