Man Killed in Key Biscayne Boating Incident

Man, 23, hit by boat's propeller after boat became stuck in sandbar: Officials

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    NBC 6's Gilma Avalos has the latest details on a boating accident that took the life of a man on Sunday.

    Ernesto Hernandez, 23, was killed when he was cut by a boat motor in No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne Sunday.

    The incident happened when the 40-foot pleasure boat, which was being operated by popular South Florida radio voice DJ Laz, became stuck on a sand bar and the man, identified as 23-year-old Ernesto Hernandez, tried to help, officials said.

    "There was a young man who came to assist and he ended up, we don't know why, but he ended up in the rear of the vessel and one of the engines and the propeller actually caught his body, his torso," said Jorge Pino, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    The injuries to Hernandez were described as severe and Hernandez was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead.

    Man Killed In Key Biscayne Boating Incident

    [MI] Man Killed In Key Biscayne Boating Incident
    A man was killed when he was cut by a boat motor in No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne Sunday. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola has more details on the aftermath.

    Authorities said he was trying to help. In fact, he was in a separate boat altogether when he apparently jumped in the water to try to push the vessel. The boat got stuck around 7 p.m. and the next high tide would have been at one in the morning, which prompted the group to try to help.

    On Monday, authorities said DJ Laz, whose real name is Lazaro Mendez, was being cooperative. He has also spoken to an attorney, NBC 6 has learned.

    The DJ issued a statement via Facebook Monday that read, "I am incredibly distraught over the unfortunate accident that occurred yesterday at Nixon Beach. My family and I send our heartfelt  condolences to the family and friends of Ernesto Hernandez; they are in our thoughts and prayers. I have and will continue to fully cooperate with investigators during this time."

    Monday, his family described Ernesto as "just a very giving person."

    "He's willing to give the shirt off his back for everyone...a heart of gold," said Ernesto's cousin, Michael Gonzalez. "A big teddy bear is what he was."

    Now authorities are investigating. They are speaking with witnesses and trying to determine just what went to so horribly wrong.

    "Our investigators will look at whether alcohol played a role, carelessness, recklessness. All those things have to be looked into to see whether there's something we should do to press charges against the operator of the vessel," Pino said.

    The final report on the incident could take several weeks.

    When asked Monday if the family was angry about the incident, Michael Gonzalez responded, "We're hurt, and we're in mourning."