Friends and Family Celebrate Life of Boat Crash Victim

The Miami Palmetto High School graduate and three others lost their lives after a boat collision near Dinner Key.

By Laura Rodriguez
|  Saturday, Jul 12, 2014  |  Updated 6:26 PM EDT
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Hundreds gathered to remember 24-year-old Kelsie Karpiak, one of the victims of the deadly 4th of July boat crash. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports.

Hundreds gathered to remember 24-year-old Kelsie Karpiak, one of the victims of the deadly 4th of July boat crash. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports.

Inside Christ Journey Church, hundreds gathered to remember 24-year-old Kelsie Karpiak in a joyful, not somber, way.

"There were songs, there were memories, and we all got together and celebrated her life," said Raul Ortega.

The Miami Palmetto High School graduate and three others lost their lives after a boat collision near Dinner Key. The focus of the service, however, was not about the 4th of July tragedy.

"It was a beautiful way of showing the rest of us what it looks like to really have hope," Lisset Tascudo said.

"It was tragic, but you know they celebrated her life," Alejandro Castano said. "That she's with the Lord now, she's in heaven, that she loved the Lord and that they can look forward to being with her one day."

Many present say Karpiak's death is one that has impacted the entire Palmetto community.

"Palmetto is an amazing community and today we have rejoiced in the celebration of her life and how she touched so many," Fatima Lemus-Lipton said.

After the memorial service, some looked for comfort, still saddened by the loss of their friend who was preparing to head to Jacksonville to work for a dance company. Others hope lawmakers take action to prevent another boat crash.

"All we hope is that maybe there are stronger laws as there are in traffic laws in the city," Lipton said.

Officials are still investigating the boating accident that occurred on July 4th.
 

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