MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The search continued Tuesday morning for the body of a man who was thrown from a personal watercraft Monday afternoon in the Blue Lagoon.
“It’s almost like he hit something. I’m not sure,” said witness Rick Rojo. “The Jet Ski almost came to a full stop and it just catapulted over, landed head first, feet in the air.”
Manuel Aponte, 32, is presumed dead. He had a wife Yanet and the couple had a year old son Sammy.
“He was a good father, he was a good man, he was a good husband,” said Aponte’s cousin Louis Perez. “I think destiny made him suffer this end. It’s sad to live this moment.”
Aponte’s family said he came to South Florida from Cuba nine years ago. He owned a heavy equipment construction company.
The accident happened in the area of the Dolphin Expressway east of 57th Avenue around 3:30 p.m. Aponte was with several other riders heading back to shore when it happened according to a witness. One of the other riders circled around and tried to find him but couldn’t.
On Monday, Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll confirmed that they did find a life vest in the water but they were not sure if it belonged to Aponte. Chopper4 over the scene spotted a rescue dive team in a raft on the water and an ambulance parked nearby on shore.
Carroll said the divers faced challenging conditions, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. The water was very choppy, murky and full of seaweed. He added it’s dangerous for divers at night because of the large boulders and dead trees.
In addition to the divers, a special piece of sonar equipment was brought in to assist in the search.
After searching for a hour and a half, Carroll said the rescue effort had turned into a recovery effort.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.