Published on:

A slew of injuries reported in the Florida Keys throughout the Fourth of July weekend sets a devastating reminder of the serious consequences of boating accidents

About eight people were injured and one person died in three separate incidents in the Florida Keys over the holiday weekend, according to local officials. 

The latest of the three incidents happened around 2 a.m. Monday when a Contender boat crashed into the South Pine Channel Bridge, a bridge connecting Middle Torch Key and Ramrod Key in the Lower Keys. At least seven people were injured in the crash including a child. The child and two others were transported via air ambulance while four others were taken to local hospitals. Monroe County Fire Rescue officials told The Miami Herald that the boat was going at a high rate of speed when it crashed. 

The second incident took place Saturday around noon in Key West and involved at least one person on a jet ski who was transported to the hospital by helicopter. Additional details, including how the incident happened or whether another watercraft was involved, were not immediately available Monday. 

A man spearfishing off the Florida Keys was hit and killed by a boat Friday afternoon. The tragic incident happened around 1:15 p.m. off of mile marker 39 near Big Pine Key. The two-engine boat that hit the man did not stop and officials said it was not immediately clear if the operator knew he had hit someone, according to reporting from local news outlets. The investigation in that case is ongoing. 

Past Cases

With offices in both Key West and Miami-Dade County, Leesfield & Partners attorneys are no strangers to news of boat crashes. The Florida Keys and Miami were listed as some of the deadliest places in the state for boating incidents in a report recently released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Overall, the state tallied 735 boat crashes in 2022, the year with the latest available data. Of the 735 crashes, about 65 were fatal. In 2021, there were 751 boat crashes. Ninety-two of the boating accidents for 2022 happened in the Florida Keys. Nine crashes involved fatalities and 57 involved injuries. In Miami-Dade County, there were approximately 90 crashes and eight deaths in 2022. About 57 people involved in crashes in that area were injured. In the FWC report, operator error and inexperience were the leading cause in nearly half of the reported incidents. 

Last year, Leesfield & Partners attorneys secured a settlement in the case of a young woman killed when the boat she was on crashed into a concrete dock. The driver of the boat had been drinking and was speeding the night of the crash. The woman and other passengers on the boat were thrown overboard. The woman was taken to the hospital where she later died. 

Attorneys with the firm secured a seven-figure settlement in that case. 

Another Leesfield & Partners case involved a snorkeler hit by a boat driven by a 6th-grader. The snorkeler had his diving flags prominently displayed at the time of the incident and was hit by the boat at full speed, killing him. The middle schooler driving the boat left the scene, covered up evidence, and lied to police in an investigation. Five people saw him leave the scene of the crash. The 13-year-old was known to previously drive the boat recklessly as was evidenced by a neighbor’s testimony. Leesfield & Partners attorneys were able to secure a $1.7 million settlement in that case for the deceased man’s family. 

Contact Information