Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everglades Air Boat Sinks

23 People Aboard Sinking Boat - Captain Doesn't Report It

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cited a Sawgrass Recreation Park airboat captain, Charles W. Riley, D.O.B 10-28-47, of Tamarac, with failing to report a boating accident, a misdemeanor, and careless operation, an infraction.

The FWC filed the charges after the airboat Riley was driving, a 28-foot Diamondback, took on water and sank in an Everglades marsh Oct. 4.  The incident was not reported to the FWC until Oct. 7.

FWC investigators determined the airboat�s capacity is 23 people. There were 37 people (cruise ship passengers) on board the vessel when water came over the bow.  The boat sank in 6-8 feet of alligator-infested water 100 yards north of Sawgrass Recreation Park in western Broward County.

Other airboat captains in the area rescued the tourists, among them young children.  Some suffered minor injuries.  Approximately $5,000 in personal items was destroyed, including cameras and cellular phones.

FWC investigators concluded the airboat was overloaded with people, which caused the boat to sink.

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