Fatal Boating Accident in Clearwater Kills Two
On September 28, 2013, two people died when their personal watercraft collided with a tour boat near the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge.
The 51-year-old man and 49-year-old woman, whose names were withheld (authorities only stated that the victims were from out of state), collided with the boat about an hour before sunset. No one on the boat was injured. Witnesses stated that the pair was playing “a game of chicken” with the tour boat when the collision occurred, and the boat captain was unable to cut the boat’s engines in time to avoid the personal watercraft. The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.
This incident is the latest in a string of fatal waterway accidents along Florida’s Gulf Coast. According to a 2012 report from the United States Coast Guard:
- 4,515 accidents killed 651 people and injured another 3,000
- 70 percent of the victims were operating vessels less than 21 feet long
- The top five causes of accidents were operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, mechanical failure and excessive speed
- Alcohol was the leading factor in 17% of fatal accidents
- Approximately 91 percent of boating accidents involved operators who had not taken a boating safety or boating education class
- Florida had more accidents and more fatal accidents than any other state or territory in the United States
If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, you may be able to recover damages from the other boater’s boat insurer or homeowners’ insurer. Damages may include money for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. An experienced Florida attorney can advise you of any and all rights you may have.