New Details in Deadly Boat Collision at MacArthur Causeway

Janette Africano, 35, was at some point in front of the vessel on Saturday, when the collision occurred, officials said

By Donna Rapado, Gilma Avalos and Juan Ortega
|  Monday, Jan 14, 2013  |  Updated 6:57 AM EDT
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Authorities have released new details in the boating collision in which a woman was crushed to death at MacArthur Causeway on the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami-Dade. Janette Africano, 35, was at some point in front of the vessel on Saturday, when she  ended up being crushed by the vessel and the bridge,  said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Authorities have released new details in the boating collision in which a woman was crushed to death at MacArthur Causeway on the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami-Dade. Janette Africano, 35, was at some point in front of the vessel on Saturday, when she ended up being crushed by the vessel and the bridge, said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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Authorities have released new details in the boating collision in which a woman was crushed to death at MacArthur Causeway on the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami-Dade.  

Janette Africano, 35, was at some point in front of the vessel on Saturday, when she “ended up being crushed by the vessel and the bridge,” said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Africano was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, officials said. The operator of the vessel, 35-year old Javier Lorente, also was taken to a hospital, where he was questioned, Pino said. 
Investigators say Lorente was on the 18-foot boat with his friend, Africano. Lorente was southbound toward Bayside, when he realized there was too much traffic and made a U-turn under the bridge to head back north, the FWC said.

As he did, "he either lost control of the vessel or he got a little disoriented," Pino said.

Africano at no point fell in the water, Pino said. “She was on board the vessel and attempted to stop the vessel from colliding into the seawall,” he said.

He said that’s when she got crushed between the vessel and the causeway.

Something happened “where it caused the boat to accelerate, causing the boat to crash into the bridge," Pino said.

When the Coast Guard arrived to the incident, the injured woman was on the boat unresponsive. The boat was brought ashore on Watson Island. Investigators examined the boat and the location where she died, Pino said.

The Intracoastal near and around the MacArthur Causeway is busy with boat traffic, especially on Saturday nights.

Pino said investigators are at a loss as to how the accident happened. They're looking at several scenarios, and because boat traffic was heavy at the time, other boaters are able to help investigators piece together the puzzle.

"Did he engage the throttle in and make the boat move at a faster rate?” he asked. “Was there a wave?”

Sunday, Africano's grieving relatives were together at a home in Hialeah.

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Authorities ask anyone with information about the collision to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

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