30 Rescued by Coast Guard and FWC After Catamaran Capsizes Near Miami Seaquarium

The catamaran capsized during Columbus Day boating festivities in Biscayne Bay.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    30 people and a dog had to be rescued after a boat capsized near the Miami Seaquarium. The Coast Guard's Michael Cortes and FWC's Jorge Pino comment. (Published Monday, Oct 14, 2013)

    Authorities rescued 30 people and a dog after a catamaran capsized near the Miami Seaquarium on Sunday.

    Multiple first response agencies and Good Samaritans helped rescue the people after the 45-foot catamaran capsized. There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, authorities said.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Boats Docked During Columbus Day Weekend Celebrations

    [MI] Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Boats Docked During Columbus Day Weekend Celebrations
    Due to budget cuts and staffing shortages, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boats were docked this year during the Columbus Day weekend celebrations in Key Biscayne. While Fire Rescue was available for on-land assistance, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took care of patrolling the waters for injuries and officials said they were more watchful than ever. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo spoke with FWC's Jorge Pino about safety while boating on Columbus Day. (Published Sunday, Oct 13, 2013)

    Those rescued were taken to the Four Ambassadors Suites Hotel on Southwest 8th Street and Brickell Avenue where Miami Fire was setting up a triage, The U.S. Coast Guard said.

    The Coast Guard got a report of a capsized vessel around 5:30 p.m. It was partially submerged in six to eight feet of water and was also partially exposed. Boaters in the area were asked to be careful.

    "When I arrived on scene there was 2 to 3 foot of the vessel still above the water line and immediately I was grabbing people out of the water," said Lieutenant Michael Cortes, the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard's Miami Beach post.

    FWC was investigating the cause of the capsizing. Authorities believe the vessel was taking people from Brickell Key to Nixon Beach and it capsized on the return trip.

    "There's some speculation that the captain of the vessel was charging people 20 dollars to transport them back and forth from Nixon beach. If that's the case he will face some other charges," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino said.

    Authorities had initially said there were 32 people rescued.

    In addition to Coast Guard, Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue, Sea Tow Miami and the FWC were among the agencies who assisted in the rescue.

    Meanwhile, due to budget cuts and staffing shortages, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boats were docked this year during the Columbus Day weekend celebrations in Key Biscayne.

    While Fire Rescue was available for on-land assistance, the FWC took care of patrolling the waters for injuries and officials said they were more watchful than ever.

    "Every year we see the same thing," Pino said. "We see individuals that like to go out and have a good time and they do it in a respectful way without any issues, but then again you also have those individuals who go out there and they don't do it the right way."

    In the last 10 years, six people have died during the Columbus Day celebrations and others have suffered from lacerations, broken bones, crush injuries, alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. Miami-Dade County is considering selling the docked Fire Rescue boats.

    While national parks like Biscayne National Park were closed due to the government shutdown, the FWC said it would patrol those areas as well.

    "We are prepared to go anywhere whether it be inside Biscayne National Park or in northern Miami-Dade County -- we're ready," Pino said.

    Many out on the water said they felt safe despite the vast number of boaters.

    "We're having a lot of fun over there on the boats," said boater Fernando Portillo. "There's a lot of police taking care of us."

    More on NBC6.com: