Reporting Maggie Newland
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One man was killed when a personal watercraft slammed into a boat near the Venetian Causeway Sunday night.
Just after 10 p.m., 27-year old Carlos Alberto Fernandez and his friend Jose Moreno were riding separate watercraft when Fernandez crashed into a 22-foot boat.
The family of five onboard the boat; a father, mother and three children, were not injured.
Moreno said he was in front of his friend when suddenly Fernandez disappeared from out of his view. “I heard a loud crash when I looked back is when I see the boat and I saw the floating Jet-Ski,” said Moreno, “When I went back I jumped into the water I saw the life jacket I didn’t see him. When I pulled on the lifejacket I pulled him up I just kept screaming for help nobody was helping me.”
Then, Moreno said he saw a flashing light. It was a boat belonging to Sea Tow captain Fernando Sorto. Sorto, who was in the area, spotted the two men in the water and went to help.
“When I was heading back to base, his friend was waving ‘Help me, help me, my friend is dying’ and I pretty much went over there to rescue both of them,” said Sorto.
Sorto helped pull Fernandez and Moreno from the water and the men were then rushed to shore.
Moreno said he could tell his friend wasn’t going to make it. “I seen blood on his chest and when I opened up the lifejacket he had a really big hole in his chest and that’s when I already knew he was dead. He died on impact.” said Moreno.
Ryan Wallach, who was at the Sea Isle Marina when they arrived, tried to help. “It was a bad scene,” said Wallach. Wallach said he then performed CPR on the man until paramedics arrived.
“You see someone in need, I’m trained for it as a licensed captain to do CPR and First Aid,” said Wallach.
Jimmy Hawk also assisted in trying to help the fatally injured Fernandez.” My friend Jimmy and Ryan jumped on the boat and started [to] do CPR. I was holding the flashlight and just getting whatever they needed,” said Hawk.
But it was too late. Paramedics pronounced Fernandez dead on the scene.
“He was a great person. My condolences to his family,” said Moreno who explained that his friend also leaves behind a young daughter.
Miami police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have launched an investigation to determine how and why this fatal accent happened.
“We want to know why they were operating the vessel at a rate of speed in this particular area and why they were operating personal watercraft at night,” said Jorge Pino with the FWC.
Since personal watercraft does not have navigational lights it is illegal to operate them at night in the state.