A witness told a 911 dispatcher that “a big tourist boat” flipped over in the Hillsborough Inlet in Pompano Beach last week, according to a call authorities released Monday.
The woman called 911 from her house to report that an entire boat of people had just gone overboard.
“A tourist boat, a lot of people, it flipped over, just outside the Hillsborough Inlet,” she told a Broward Sheriff’s Office dispatcher.
A 54-year-old New Mexico woman, Nina Poppelsdorf, drowned after the commercial dive boat capsized because of a rogue wave, according to the BSO.
The witness estimated that they were less than a quarter-mile from shore – but said she wouldn’t have been able to swim there from her house.
“Holy s---! My husband said wow, that looks rough, and all of a sudden it went over,” she told the dispatcher in the call.
The woman reported that the boat was the Coral Princess. Dennis Winchester, the captain of the 45-foot catamaran, did everything he could to keep the boat upright after a wave hit it from behind, authorities have said.
Two crew members and 21 divers were aboard when the Coral Princess capsized. Three people were treated and released afterward, according to the BSO.
The dispatcher said he would send the Coast Guard to the scene. He kept the woman on the line while he called the Coast Guard to make the request, while saying that the BSO was also responding. The woman said at that point that she still counted 15 people in the water.