Airboat Accident in Alligator-Ridden Area Results in Two Deaths
A devastating airboat accident near Cocoa, Florida, resulted in injuries for two men and wrongful death of two others, according to an article by USA Today. The airboat capsized in dangerous waters with a lot of alligator activity.
The airboat accident occurred at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at the River Lakes Conservation Area near Cocoa. A witness at the nearby Lone Cabbage Fish Camp reported that the airboat was travelling in a reckless fashion. The witness stated that the airboat went through its wake and flipped over.
In the turmoil that followed, several boats set off to provide aid. Two of the airboat passengers were rescued, but the other two could not be found.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) worked together to look for the missing passengers. After a search that lasted several hours, authorities found both men dead.
The present airboat accident is the latest to feature fatalities or catastrophic injury in Florida. In May 2017, a 22-year-old woman was on an airboat in the Florida Everglades. When the airboat crashed, the passengers and captain were ejected from the vessel. But the 22-year-old woman was trapped underneath by the engine. Unable to escape, she died shortly thereafter.
In May 2016, a man was involved in an airboat accident that resulted in the loss of his left arm. Despite the horrific nature of those accidents, the FWCC reports that airboat accidents are relatively rare. In 2016, Florida had 714 boating accidents. Airboats were involved in only 31 of those accidents, approximately four percent of the annual total.
Florida Rules and Regulations for Boats
In terms of state-specific rules and regulations, although licenses are not required to operate a boat in Florida, Florida does require completion of a safe boating course and that the operator of a boat with more than 10 horsepower have on their person a Boating Safety Education Identification Card.
To obtain an ID card, boat operators must send the following information to FWCC:
- Full name;
- Date of birth;
- Return address;
- Phone number; and
- Proof of completion of an approved boating education course.
It is important to note that Florida is the only the state that requires boat operators to successfully complete specific boating education courses. Only courses approved by the FWCC and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators will suffice.
After completing all of the requirements, the FWCC reviews the information and approves or denies the request for a Boating Safety Card. If all information is in order, the FWCC will issue the operator their Boating Safety Education Identification Card. This ID card is good for life, without any need to renew.
Do You Have Legal Questions?
If you are dealing with a boat accident that resulted in wrongful death or catastrophic injury, there are countless considerations to take into account. Don’t hesitate to contact Michael F. Guilford, P.A. in Miami for assistance with your case.