MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police have identified the two women who were killed when the car they were in plunged into the water off the Fisher Island ferry.
According to the ferry operator, the ship was on its way from Fisher Island when the car went overboard.
Divers from Miami-Dade police and fire rescue found the submerged car in the area of Government Cut, near Fisher Island. The bodies of two women were inside.
The women have has been identified as 63-year-old Emma Afra from Fisher Island and her passenger 75-year-old Viviane Brahms from New York.
Afra’s daughter told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she had spoken with the authorities and was in a state of shock and did not know how this accident happened.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber called the incident a horrible tragedy.
“It’s a jarring tragedy. When we heard about it everybody just stopped and started to think about these poor souls and their families. I think the whole community is very shocked,” he said. “I have a lot of faith that the Coast Guard and cities in Miami Dade that are involved will get into a very thorough investigation to address this and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
Afra’s daughter said she appreciated the Mayor’s concern.
D’Oench also spoke with Fisher Island residents and those with regularly use the ferry.
“This is terrible. We figured perhaps she touched the accelerator instead if the brake. That’s what everyone is thinking,” said Fisher Island resident Dians Siegel. “I have been living here for 23 years and this has never happened before.”
“I cannot believe it. This is unreal. I just have a stomach ache after this,” added Fisher Island resident Dorothy Elkayan.
Este Gelbi, who was driving Elkayan and regularly uses the ferry, said, “You have to be really careful. You have to think about the worst case scenario and how to handle it. This is very scary. This was a freak accident.”
The Fisher Island Community Association put out a statement that said, in part:
“The entire Fisher Island community mourns their loss and our hearts and prayers go out to the victims’ families during this very difficult time.”
Association President and CEO Robert Sosa added that the Association was cooperating fully with the Coast Guard.
He said safety was the top priority for residents, guests and employees and all of them would be offered counseling services.
Both the US Coast Guard and Miami Dade police are investigating this incident. A spokesman for the Coast Guard said he could not comment because this case was under investigation.