MIAMI >> Three boats collided near a Miami marina around the end of a fireworks display, killing four and injuring a dozen others in a chaotic scene that left bodies and survivors tossed overboard.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the crash Friday night near the Dinner Key Marina in Miami, with officers plucking several people out of the water. The boaters are believed to have been out celebrating the Fourth of July holiday.
Rescuers were alerted by one of the boaters at about 10:45 p.m. He said he’d been hit by another vessel and that his 36-foot pleasure craft was taking on water, authorities said.
"We kept getting report after report of more people in the water," Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll said.
Eight people were initially transported to Miami hospitals. Two of them, man and a woman, later died. Relatives of a third victim found her body in the water on Saturday, and a fourth body was located later by investigators, authorities said.
The victims’ names and ages weren’t immediately released.
"My understanding is they may have been out there enjoying the fireworks display, and typically after the fireworks are over, everyone makes a mad dash for the nearest marina," said Jorge Pino, a public information officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
However, Pino cautioned that the exact circumstances were still under investigation.
Carroll recounted how anxious relatives waited for news of their loved ones at the dock. One man, he recalled, worried about his two grandchildren. Both arrived safely to shore.
"We were relieved to be able to let him know that they were OK," Carroll said.