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Archive for Florida

Cash Fox based on NBC2 photo

Cash Fox
based on NBC2 photo

Cash Fox, a 7 year old Florida boy was on a 20 foot boat with his father (Kevin Cash) and his 11 year old brother near Stump Pass Marina, near Englewood in Charlotte County, Florida the morning of Saturday 9 July 2016. A little before 9am, Cash’s father,

The boy was taken to Englewood Community Hospital where he later died. Read More→

Gabby DeSouza died

by Gary

Gabby DeSouza

Gabby DeSouza
photo by Comunidade News

From time to time, some propeller accident victims stand out in our memories. The press typically does not cover most of them, or just provides the very basics of the accident and never returns to the story. Sometimes accident victims are covered a few times, and very rarely, the press falls in love with them and provides more indepth coverage for a longer period of time. This level of coverage is often reserved for youth. Sometimes coverage continues as the community unites to pray and rally for them as they fight for life in the hospital or fight to save a limb, sometimes as friends and family try to raise funds to cover tremendous medical expenses, sometimes as friends and family prepare their home for their return in a wheelchair, sometimes when they return home from the hospital, sometimes as they endure countless surgeries, sometimes as new prosthetics are fitted, and sometimes as family members try to pass boating safety laws in the name of their deceased children. Other times it comes as youth try to return to sports activities, want to walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma, reunite with rescuers, mark the first year anniversary of the accident, or try to give back to others facing similar challenges. They are seen as vibrant teenagers full of life and anticipations whose lives where tragically changed or cut short.

A few U.S. examples from recent times include: Britteny Lindt (15 year old cheerleader), Cole Ortega (14 year old surfer), Allysa Squirrell (11 year old training as a junior lifeguard), Molly Moses (16, known from Miracles for Molly), Gabby DeSouza (14 year old Floridian), Drew Barefield (12 year old Florida boy snorkeling), and Emily Fedorko (16 year old beautiful Connecticut girl). Others like Kali Gorzell of Texas had similar stories, but were never picked up in depth by the press.

These young, vibrant teenagers captured the hearts of those who read their stories. The press continued to run follow up stories on those who survived. Among them was Gabriella “Gabby” DeSouza, a cheerful, sassy Florida teen who lost her lower right leg to a propeller accident in February 2011. Read More→

On 9 August 2011, a father (Jared C. Adkins, then 39) and his son (Calvin Adkins, then 11) of Harrington Delaware were on a dive boat charter in the Florida Keys. They were on the Big Dipper, a 46 foot dive boat, belonging to the Florida Keys Dive Center in Tavernier Florida on Plantation Key.

Orion dive boat, sister boat to the Big Dipper

Orion Dive Boat
sister boat to the Big Dipper

They were on a drift dive north of Conch Reef about 9 miles north of Key Largo, Florida. About 9am, they entered the water form the stern platform of the dive boat. The boat was already in or shortly later put in reverse gear and they were ran over by the propellers. Early reports suggested the divers entered the water before the command from the boat crew. Later reports say they were instructed to dive.

Father and son both received brain damage and skull fractures. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

Following up on the Dinner Key July 4th, 2014 accident in South Florida (four fatalities and several critically injured), Trevor Bach of Miami New Times published a Riptide blog post on 31 July 2014 titled, “Dinner Key Tragedy: Advocates Say Florida Could Save Lives With One Simple Safety Law”

Kill Switch Lanyard

Lanyard photo courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard

In the article Trevor Bach notes five states currently require mandatory wear of kill-switch lanyards (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Nevada), and notes “Florida, the most popular state for boating and also the deadliest, with 62 fatalities last year, is conspicuously absent from the list.”

He says boating safety advocates say the boating industry does not want kill-switch lanyard use to be mandatory, then quotes me as saying “They don’t want mandatory anything”. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Miami New Times continuing coverage of boating safety issues identified Nixon Sandbar as a well known party spot with ties to some major boating accidents (like the DJ Laz accident, and the July 4th Dinner Key accident).

As part of their investigation, Miami New Times shot some video coverage of the weekend of July 4th, 2014 activities at Nixon Beach. The article by Trevor Bach, is titled Partying at Nixon Sandbar on Fourth of July.

The video shows a pretty rowdy crowd, with little to no attention being paid to boating safety. Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

Ryan Batchelder

Ryan Batchelder

Ryan Paul Batchelder, 7 of Lake Worth Florida, was in the bow of a rented boat with at least one other child on Lake Burton in Georgia on Thursday 17 July, 2014. About 5 pm, the boat operator made a hard turn, the boat hit a large wake, some water came over the bow, Ryan Batchelder and another child were ejected from the bow.

Early reports say Ryan went under the rented boat and was struck by the propeller in the boating accident.

One report says it was a ski boat with two adults and four children on board. Read More→

Trevor Bach of the Miami New Times (a paper in Miami FL) authored a major investigative story on the South Florida boat party scene getting out of hand and resulting in several high profile accidents. The last of which, was the quadruple fatality the evening of July 4th off Dinner Key. A 32 foot power boat that had spent the day at the Nixon sandbar party (same site as the recent DJ Laz accident) was headed to Dinner Key in the dark when it struck a 36 foot boat, and bounced into yet another boat. The result was four dead:

  • Jason Soleimani (22)
  • Kelsi Karpiak (24)
  • Victoria “Tori” Dempsey (20)
  • Andrew Garcia(23)

and three more critically injured.

Reference: DJ Laz and the Dinner Key Boating Disaster: Too Many Watery Deaths.
Trevor Bach.
Miami New Times.
17 July 2014. Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

Drew Barefield

Drew Barefield

Drew Barefield, a 12 year old boy from Crestview Florida, was snorkeling in Choctawhatchee Bay while his dad was net casting for mullet nearby on Saturday evening 28 June 2014 about 7:40 pm. They were in an area of bay near Villa Tasso between Niceville and Freeport known for being shallow for about a quarter of a mile offshore.

Drew was a little further offshore than his dad when he was struck by a westbound passing boat. The boat is described as being light colored with a black motor (in the boating world that does not narrow down things very much). The boat continued on. Authorities are not certain if it was a hit-and-run or if the boaters were unaware they struck a snorkeler. The boat operator was still being sought Monday evening June 30th.

When authorities arrived on the scene, Trey Barefield, Drew’s father, was holding him in the back of a pickup truck. Drew was life life flighted to an unnamed hospital in Pensacola, Florida where he remained in critical condition. Read More→

As mentioned in our previous review of propeller accident reporting in USCG’s BARD 2010 database, 7 of the 10 propeller accidents we found news media reports for that were not listed in BARD occurred in the State of Florida.

That got us wondering if something might be different with their reporting criteria, their boating accident report form, their database, their method of forwarding the accidents to the U.S. Coast Guard, or some other step in the process.

USCG Boat Responsibly Logo

USCG Boat Responsibly Logo

After we wrote this post we requested assistance from USCG Office of Boating Safety and SPIN in determining what happened (should these accidents be in BARD, where did they fall through the cracks?) USCG immediately responded with a detailed analysis of the individual accidents for the group of 7 propeller accidents. The post below was updated to include USCG’s 14 July 2011 and 6 August 2011 responses. We really appreciate their quick and detailed response on the 7 accidents and for sticking with Florida to determine the source of the missing 14 accidents. SPIN is made some inquiries in Florida and we appreciate their help as well. Thanks again to USCG and SPIN for their efforts. Read More→