MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Three people remain in the hospital following the three-boat accident off Dinner Key Fourth of July evening. Four families, however, are mourning the loss of loved ones.
One moment Jason Soleimani, from New York, was with his girlfriend Heather Hanono on her family’s boat on Biscayne Bay, the next he was gone.
Jason and Heather’s family were on the water on the Fourth of July evening, after the fireworks, when another boat hit them and then plowed into another vessel. There were 22 people involved, in all four people were killed and seven others injured.
“Jason was the most amazing guy in the world who always knew how to put a smile on my face,” 22-year-old Heather told CBS4’s Natalia Zea in a phone interview Tuesday. She described Jason as “very family oriented” telling Zea how he “loved his family” and loved her family and brothers.
Heather says she can’t recall the accident that took the life 23-year-old Soleimani’s life—all she remembers was that he was sitting next to her on the boat.
“I woke up in the hospital and said ‘where am I,’” Heather told Zea. “I had a concussion, my shoulder, I’m all cut up on my legs, bruises.”
Soleimani was buried Monday in New York and Heather is left trying to make sense of the tragedy that took the life of the man she was hoping to marry.
“I just don’t understand why my Jason, why my Jason? That’s all I want to know—why my Jason?” Heather said.
Heather’s mom Linda Hanono suffered a broken nose and is covered in bruises. She said the family had just had a great day together when suddenly there was a violent crash.
“I felt the moment of impact. I didn’t know what happened,” Linda said. “I felt like we hit something or something hit us, obviously something hit us cause the side of the boat has the mark of the other boat going through it.”
Family members were unconscious, pinned in the wreck and bruised. Everyone was panicked, not fully understanding what happened.
“Why don’t I wake up from this nightmare, that was my thought. My thought was to pray to God to get us out of there because I thought we were going to sink,” Linda said.
Linda’s three children survived, along with her daughter-in-law and her two young granddaughters—but Jason, who Linda said was like a family member, did not.
“There’s a word in Yiddish called a Guteh neshomeh, which means a good soul, someone that doesn’t have a bad bone in his body…that was Jason Soleimani.
Jason was the first of four victims to be laid to rest.
The crash’s three other victims, Andrew Garcia, 23, Victoria Dempsey, 20, and 24-year old Kelsey Karpiak, who, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, were in the Contender that hit the 36-foot boat of the Hanono family, will be laid to rest Thursday, Friday and Saturday.