KEY BISCAYNE (CBSMiami) — A Sunday boat day off the coast of Key Biscayne turned deadly for one boater.
Authorities say a man died after he was injured by a boat propeller. Investigators say he was trying to help a group of people push a 40-foot boat off a sandbar.
“There were several people there who were trying to push the boat off the sandbar. Unfortunately,there was another young man who came to assist. He ended up, we don’t know why, in the rear of the vessel and one of the engines actually caught his body,his torso, causing him to suffer some very severe injures,” said Officer Jorge Pino with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Law enforcement boats were already gathered in the area off Nixon Beach to patrol the crowds. They rushed the injured man to get help.
“The rescue pulled up next to us with a gentleman in real bad shape. He was covered up. They were pumping him,” said Frank Alonso, who was out boating.
“They put him in the rescue, the helicopter came and took off,” added Werner Velasquez.
At the hospital, the man’s family learned he did not survive. The family identified him as Ernesto Hernandez, but officials have not confirmed his identity.
Investigators are trying to determine exactly how the incident happened.
“Our investigators are going to look at whether alcohol played a role, carelessness, recklessness. All those things will be looked into to see if we should press charges against the operator of the vessel,” said Pino.