Miami Police are investigating an incident that left woman fearing she wouldn’t make it back on dry land after she was harassed by personal watercraft riders near Miami Marine Stadium.
The incident was captured in a video clip obtained by Only in Dade that showed rowing instructor Yamel Ortiz getting drenched by the riders who came up at high speeds, splashing water on her multiple times Monday evening.
Ortiz said Tuesday that there were frightening moments as her boat began filling with water.
"I feel the first splash on my back and after that it was like three minutes," she said. "The pain in my head was crazy because the water came straight in my head."
Ortiz said it's been an emotional time for her, her husband, and family. She had been out teaching youngsters at the Miami Rowing Club when the riders were racing by them.
She said she got her students to safety and was looking to see if she could identify where the riders were coming from when they began splashing her.
"At some point I wondered what was going to happen to me here. My motor boat was full of water, I was very afraid of my life because they were getting closer and closer and closer," she said.
Ortiz got close enough to a boat where Miami-based music personality DJ Africa and the owner of the boat he was on, Marcel Reynosa, went into action.
"We saw the lady in the boat, asking for help. 'Help me, help me, my boat is sinking!'" DJ Africa said.
"We assisted her, we actually grabbed on to a rope and threw it her and we had the boat actually and we had her jump into my boat," Reynosa said.
"What’s concerning to us was that people were videotaping. They were laughing and they didn’t realize there is a woman aboard a vessel and clearly this could have capsized. This could have ended her life," police spokesperson Kenia Fallat said.
Ortiz said she thinks the riders who did this to her should go to jail.
"Of course, I mean, how are you going to get people’s life in danger like that," she said.
Police are asking anyone who was near the Miami Marine Stadium Monday evening and have any idea who was on the personal watercraft to contact them or call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
Ortiz said the incident isn’t going to deter her from continuing her work with kids who want to learn all about rowing.
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